The Nantucket Fund™ awarded a grant in 2016 to Nantucket Community Sailing and Nantucket S.T.A.R. (Sports & Therapeutic Accessible Recreation) for therapeutic watersports lessons in a collaboration called the Adaptive WaterSports Program. The grant was used to provide watersports activities in 2017 on a weekly basis in July in addition to a full week of programming in August.
“Through therapeutic sailing and watersports activities, NCS is providing people with infirmities, illnesses, or other disabilities an opportunity to enjoy time on the water in a fun, safe, and supervised manner,” writes Diana Brown from Nantucket Community Sailing. “The feedback we have received from the participants and the program directors at each organization has been phenomenal – highlighting these sailing opportunities as some of the most fun and therapeutic for their clientele over the course of the summer.”
NCS has been working with STAR since 2011 and in 2013 extended the program to what it is today. “We are able to combine our resources and our particular strengths that in turn enables us to offer a fun program down at Jetties Beach. What we love about this program is that it provides access to one of Nantucket’s greatest resources, the waterfront, and creates a lifelong love for water adventures,” writes Tina Steadman of Nantucket STAR.
The majority of participants in the program are year-round families and many of them are ESL students. Each STAR participant is paired with a Community Sailing staff member for one-on-one instruction. They seamlessly transition each child into the water and switch from kayaking, wind surfing, paddle boarding, and the big outrigger canoe, or “banana boat.” Siblings and family members are allowed to participate to make it fun for the whole family. The consistent lessons allow the students to become more confident as the summer progresses.
One participant’s mother, and also a board member of Nantucket STAR, says, “This is my son’s favorite program and something he would not be able to do on his own. He has gained so much confidence in the water and is becoming more and more adventurous.” A Community Sailing instructor responds it is equally rewarding for them, “It’s my favorite program to work with and I get to know the Nantucket community better through meeting the STAR participants, staff, and family members.”