By Archana Ojha
The Treasure Island Sailing Center‘s (TISC) mission is to improve the Bay Area community and the sport of sailing by providing access, facilities, and sailing instruction to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, skill levels, and physical abilities. TISC offers sailing and water sports lessons to youth, adult, and adaptive sailors and provides scholarships to all who meet the financial requirements. A full service sailing center, TISC never turns away a child and has no limit on the number of scholarships it offers.
In line with its mission to make sailing more accessible to all kids in the Bay Area, TISC has partnered with the Olympic Circle Sailing Club (OCSC) to put together a competitive high school sailing team at Envision Academy of Arts and Technology, a tuition-free charter high school in Oakland whose mission is to have their kids attend and finish a 4 year college degree. The Envision Academy Sailing Team (EAST) is wholly funded by TISC, OCSC and community support. EAST students had the opportunity to enroll in summer swim lessons and sailing camps at TISC to prepare for the Varsity Sailing Team that started last fall. They have weekly practices at TISC throughout the academic school year in the hopes that next year a competitive sailing team is born.
TISC’s Set Sail Learn (SSL) program provides a learning opportunity to fourth graders in the San Francisco Unified School District by opening a door to the Bay and world of sailing. TISC provides students the opportunity to sail while learning about the beauty, history, and biology of the Bay. In 2014 alone, TISC introduced over 44 classes from 19 elementary schools to its Set Sail Learn (SSL) program.
From a young SSL participant, Anthony:
“Dear TISC, I had a wonderful time with your instructors and would like to say thank you very much for doing this for us. This is the best field trip I have ever went to and I have gone camping before so this is the best program ever!”
The TISC Adaptive Sailing Program strives to make sailing accessible to anybody with a desire to learn including those with physical and developmental disabilities. In partnership with the Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind, TISC offers sailing instruction for the visually impaired. Students learn to sail through the use of creative and adaptive methods in a hands-on, mainstream teaching environment. The objective is the same as for sighted sailors: to harness the wind and to experience all the challenges and rewards of sailing. Through the Adaptive Sailing Program, disabled sailors gain a sense of independence and self-confidence.
From Tiffany, a TISC visually impaired sailor:
“I love the feeling of being out on the water. I believe it’s the only thing I can legally drive now!”
In 2014, over 2,534 students went through the various TISC programs including 2,325 youth students, 119 adaptive students, 33 adult students and 57 watersports students. Almost 70-80% of the TISC students need and receive either half or full scholarships to participate in the programs. Donations by organization such as the St. Francis Sailing Foundation make these scholarships possible. For many years the St. Francis Sailing Foundation has donated substantial funding annually for scholarships, portions of which were matching funds that helped TISC solicit additional individual donations.