Against a ton of odds, Treasure Island Sailing Center is approaching week 6 of its summer camp programming, a feat that was considered maybe impossible to pull off just a few months ago. Three camps of three weeks each will see some 150 kids ages 9-18 get out on the water this summer after all.
“TISC came up with a system after meetings with race team parents and guidance from the Public Health Department which helped us put protocols in place,” Laura DeFelice, Program Manager at TISC, said. “It was a lot of planning for sure and overwhelming but so worth it. The parent feedback has been so positive, the kids are happy and rejuvenated.”
Camp runs 9-4pm daily, with group start and end times staggered by 15 minutes to cater to social distancing. Kids do everything with their designated group and stay with the same instructor all day. They’re split into 4 different “pods” – Beginners sailing bug boats; the all-level Opti group which is split into two groups based on skill level; the homegrown TISC Race team sailing Opti’s and Feva’s; and the Teen Class sailing Club FJ’s including beginner to advanced level sailors.
The kids are generally taking to Covid protocols and the purchase of TISC “buffs” has helped wearing face coverings be cool, Laura noted. “We have to give the kids constant reminders about safety so that they can sail here, and our instructors have the biggest role in this. They are making sure protocols are followed, hands are being washed, and everyone is feeling safe and welcomed. I am super proud of our team.”
A typical day: Parents are not allowed to enter the TISC facility so they now just drop kids off at the facility entrance. On arrival temperatures are taken and when the kids enter the facility, they wash hands and go to their designated group tent. A chalk talk in the morning is followed by lunch at assigned group areas with their respective instructors. The afternoon is dedicated to sailing and/or playing on-the-water games, with the beach used for activities on high wind days.
“There is more waiting around because we have staggered times at the dock as only one group at a time can launch boats,” Laura explained. “Th kids wash down equipment at the end of the day and typically go home in their wetsuits and wash those at home, another change they’ve had to adapt to.”
The hard work is paying off but it’s a summer camp kids are bound to remember:
A few things I like about this summer and sailing Fevas is that I get to sail with my bro and I really get to know how to communicate with him and go faster than an Optimist. – Opti Race Team Member
Sailing with a partner on a Feva is very instructional for both skipper and crew. Not only for you to improve skills used in solo sailing, but you also develop new skills like communication, teamwork, and listening. –Felix Ho Opti Race Team
I got to solo sail for the first time! – Amy Kane
What I like the most is that I learned how to roll tack and sailing in high wind! – Kevin Liang
What I like least is that we have to wear masks. – Carlos