The Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation and Gold Star Sailing hosted 14 Gold Star children to a week of sailing and fun in South Florida the week of June 14.
Gold Star Sailing, a nonprofit organization, provides unique opportunities and adventures to the surviving children of fallen military service members. The objectives are to instill self-confidence, build character, teach teamwork, develop leadership and promote healing in a positive environment of hope, adventure and friendship.
These 14 Gold Star children, eight girls and six boys ranging from 13-19 years old, from all over the country spent the week learning to sail, seeing the Everglades by airboat, enjoying the beach and other activities at Lago Mar, rock climbing, hanging out with the Florida Panther’s mascot, Stanley C. Panther and interacting with other teenagers who understand their situation.
“Each year my favorite part continues to be watching these kids grow and change during camp,” said Colonel Patrick Powers (retired), Founder of Gold Star Sailing. “Strong bonds are made, friendships are forged, and then the healing just happens naturally.”
Powers continued, “Losing a parent feels like an impossible time for the teenagers. One mother saw a photo of her smiling daughter during the camp and sent a note saying she hadn’t seen her daughter smile for 6 months. Gold Star Sailing is built to help them navigate through their complex grief. The staff shows them it is okay to have fun without feeling guilty. The program teaches them to sail, try new things, get out of their comfort zone and make friends.”
Powers added, “Too often these children are secluded in their environment because they struggle to relate to other teenagers. By bringing Gold Star children together, they relate very naturally and form strong bonds. They arrive as strangers and leave as family.”
In preparation for this past week’s sailing camp, the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation co-hosted a dinner at the Lauderdale Yacht Club to honor the military members who participated in the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea show on May 8 & 9. Proceeds from this sold-out event benefited the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation and Gold Star Sailing.
“Sailing at this age builds character, self-reliance, independence, self-respect, and leadership skills,” said Peter Commette, Board Member of LYCSF and head sailing coach for the week. “Joining forces with Gold Star Sailing to host these wonderful Gold Star teenagers has been an honor for all of us at the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation.”
About the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation and Gold Star Sailing:
The Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation is dedicated to favorably impacting the lives of young people, primarily between the ages of eight and eighteen, by using sailing as a vehicle to teach boating, weather, marine safety, sea conditions, maritime “rules of the road,” racing, tactics, first aid, and improving spatial and mathematical skills. If you know any young person who would like to learn to sail, or if you would like to find out more or contribute to the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation or Gold Star Sailing, please visit their websites at: