Who We Are
...Building Self-Confidence and Social Skills through Sailing…
The Brendan Corporation is a registered 501(3)c and parent entity to the Brendan Sailing Program. We foster entry level sailing programs with US Sailing certified instructors with a focus on "learning by doing". Since our founding in 1985 we have been committed to providing a foundation for success and building pathways for self-confidence and personal growth in youth with learning differences...through individually tailored experiential instruction in sailing.
For much of Brendan Sailing’s 34-year history, the Annapolis waterfront has been our primary home. Since 1985 we have been operating out of Annapolis Sailing School on Bembe Beach where we have an outstanding partnership with the sailing school and the community. In 2005, we expanded our programs to St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, MD. Through partnership with the college, we introduced the program's overnight camp session, where participants get the opportunity to gain a sense of independence by staying on campus in the SMCM resident halls. Recently in 2018, our organization has added a new after school program in Washington DC, operating thanks to our partner DC Sail in the Fall and Spring months. For more information on all our programs, click the links below.
Mr. James Patrick Muldoon is the Founder of both METCOR, Ltd, a full-service consulting and training firm and the Brendan Sailing Program. In 1985 he was inspired to start Brendan Sailing by his son with dyslexia, Jim Muldoon Jr, who at a young age became a successful sailor on his father’s racing yacht DONNYBROOK. “One day I noticed that this young boy, who was having trouble telling his right hand from his left hand, knew port from starboard and that he was telling my crew, these big burly sailors, how to run the boat…and they were listening to him” Muldoon said. “That’s what this program does, it builds a foundation for self-confidence, allowing the kids to be more confident and surer of themselves, and not just in sailing but in other pursuits as well.”
Since the program’s inception, more than 600 young people, ages 11 to 18, have been introduced to the joys of sailing, and, in the process, improved relationships with their peers and built self-esteem, confidence, and maturity.
Outside of Brendan, Muldoon has also previously served as President of the United States Sailing Association (1997-2000), Chairman of the Board of Learning Systems International, a wholly owned subsidiary of METCOR (1979 – Present), and Chairman of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (1998-2016).
A child’s talents and skills need a chance to develop, and that chance to develop requires different approaches for students with learning differences.
Brendan Sailing works with students with learning differences such as dyslexia, attention deficit, and autism spectrum disorders. And while each child is unique, these learning differences do have common issues; children with learning differences often exhibit low self-esteem, struggle in school, and are at a greater risk for being bullied.
However, there are protective factors for children with learning differences; positive physical development, high self-esteem, and emotional self-regulation, along with good coping and problem-solving skills. Brendan Sailing helps youth build those protective factors.
Sailing provides the therapeutic effects of being on the water and requires communication and social interaction. Several studies have found that sailing builds self-esteem and confidence. One study by K. McCulloch (et.al.) found that, “young people consistently experience increases in their sense of confidence about themselves and their dealings with the world, following participation in sail training voyages, and that for some participants these changes are lasting.”
Our core mission is to build pathways for self-confidence and self-esteem through individually tailored experiential instruction in sailing that we call “the Brendan Approach” that focuses on hands-on learning while building personal connections, and a habit of success.
Brendan serves families and children in the learning differences community. We define differences to be inclusive of learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. We do not require a formal diagnosis. We are a family-oriented organization and serve those with family members with learning differences. Children, parents, friends, and family can all get involved in a variety of ways including volunteering, participating and sponsorship.
We believe no child should be overlooked because of financial reasons, therefore we provide scholarship assistance (partial and full) to those in need. Scholarships are made possible by the generosity of our founder, our supporters, and funding from the Kathy & Jerry Wood Foundation (2019).
Academic Research Supporting Program Benefits
“The data collected provide evidence that sail training has positive benefits in terms of participants’ social confidence and their self-perceptions of capacity to work collaboratively with others”
“It is argued that while sail training experiences are generally positive and beneficial, some appear to be more effective than others in developing social confidence. “
“We also show that it is not principally the seamanship dimension of the experience, but the combination of a structured purposeful programme with the unique character of the seafaring environment that provides the basis for the learning. “
“Sail training should therefore be understood not solely as adventurous recreation but as a powerful educative experience.”
“Throughout the United States of America, educators are increasingly recognizing the importance of promoting emotional resiliency and positive social development in youth by incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) instruction within the general curriculum.”
“Improved SEL serves to prevent high-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse, delinquency, and violence and is also associated with positive school-related outcomes, such as social acceptance, problem solving skills, stress management, and academic success”
“Greenberg and colleagues (2003) found that effective social and emotional instruction improves students’ abilities to recognize and manage emotion, understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, establish positive goals, make responsible decisions, and cope with interpersonal conflicts.”
“Long-term positive life outcomes are also associated with SEL, including high school completion, healthy marriage, stable family, and marriage success.”
Feuerborn, Laura, and Ashli Tyre. “Practical Social-Emotional Learning Tools for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities in the United States of America.” International Association of Special Education, 2009.
“A number of recent studies have revealed that taking part in a sail training-based Adventure Education Programme elevates youths’ self-esteem.”
“Study 1 revealed that participants who completed the voyage showed an increase in self-esteem from the first to the last day of the voyage.”
“Study 2 replicated Study 1 and, further, demonstrated that the relationship between group belonging and self-esteem was not a function of self-efficacy or group esteem. Such findings suggest that an important contributing factor to the benefits of sail-training interventions is their potential to satisfy psychological needs, in this case the need to belong.”
Thomson & John A. Hunter (2018) Satisfying psychological needs on the high seas: explaining increases self-esteem following an Adventure Education Programme, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 18:2, 165-175,
"Brendan Sailing camp was an amazing experience for my child. She had no experience whatsoever with being on the water and this amazing camp built a lot of confidence in her and she can't wait to learn more and attend camp again next year."
Parent of Brendan Sailor 2019
"Brendan Sailing helped build the confidence in my child, not only to drive a sailboat but also to take me sailing with her. Many people do not respect that some children may need more time to learn and can get distracted... Brendan instructors were parent and understanding with her."
Janet, Parent of Brendan Sailor 2018
"My son gained a sense of confidence that extended to his day-to-day. Before Brendan he was shy, and the boy we picked up from camp was more engaging, happy, and relaxed. I attribute this not just to learning how to sail, but also to the instructors he worked with and the new friends he made"
Lisa, Parent of Brendan Sailor 2018
“Brendan Sailing has given my son a sense of accomplishment that no other sports program has provided. The instructors taught him how to sail and had faith in him, allowing him to build self-confidence and grow his self-esteem.”
Kate, Parent of Brendan Sailor 2013
Camp Survey Statistics
Results from our 2018 Parents Survey and 2017 Students Survey
100% of Campers Improved in Sailing
Majority of Campers Improved Self-Confidence, Teamwork skills, navigation skills, and listening skills
Almost all campers said they would tell their friends about Brendan Sailing
Over 80% of Parents saw their child's Self-Esteem improve
All Parents saw their child's Self-Confidence Improve based on the Brendan Experience
Two third of parents saw their child's well-being and positive outlook improve
One third of campers indicated a reduction in stress following camp
100% of parents would recommend Brendan Sailing to friends
Articles we think best represent our program
January 29, 2019
"The camp didn’t just change Evan; it changed Tara, too. 'I saw the acceptance and patience from the instructors at Brendan Sailing. There were no judgments. They let him be who he was. This changed the way we relate to each other at home.'"
June 27, 2018
"Parents start noticing immediate differences in their child’s behavior after a summer session. Lisa Whelan, a parent from the St. Mary’s overnight camp, said in the release, 'My son gained a sense of confidence that extended to his day-to-day life."
June 19, 2018
"...Brendan is a program where my son fit in right away, gained a sense of accomplishment in learning to sail, made new friends and looks forward to every summer. As a parent of a child with learning differences, this is not something that is easily found.'"