October 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
The Saving Sailing adventure has been nothing if not gratifying. And this reader review makes me smile every time I read it.
My wife, a non-sailor, read this book, and now she has a much better understanding of my passion for sailing. She is keen to sail with me and the kids this summer.
Read the whole review here.
September 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
About once a week, we get an email from someone who is tired of the sailing status quo and is looking for ideas to make their next event better. In this case, a club on the West Coast struggled with declining participation in a so-called “fun” youth regatta.
——— Reply ———–
Sorry your regatta didn’t go as well as you hoped. In the larger picture, there is no scarcity of kids in sailing. The missing ingredient in sailing is the parent, who, as you have said, is usually relegated to volunteering.
Here are three bold moves that I have seen work miracles in many cities and clubs:
1.) Don’t use the words regatta or fun. One is off-putting. The other is self-evident. “Games” is a good alternative word and solid footing for innovation, but you might think of another. New and different games are the most fun and engaging. Assemble your team to invent new games and try new flavors. Have the players weigh in. Give credit to the inventors and keep refining. Everything is on the table.
2.) Don’t exclude the parent, in fact, make the event family centric, that is, everyone, every age, every skill level, every gender sails. If the kids end up teaching the parents, you’ve just doubled your numbers and created the most lasting memories (and dedicated sailors.) Might you have to try different boats? Sure. Is it hard to get them? Never.
3.) Rethink every outcome. Old social statuses don’t matter anymore. Trophies and podium visits pale in comparison to youtube action clips and personal facebook albums and sailing tweets. The opportunity that sailing organizers have today is mind-blowing: every person sailing can star in their own movie! Some will be funny. Others heroic. Others inspiring. This is the point of ignition for viral marketing and leads to massive gains in interest, participants and more innovation.
Recent research shows that millennials like and want to be with their parents. Studies of adults 30-55 shows that they want to engage their kids and not waste time in cubicles, behind windshelds or screens. The new family unit is ready to trade money for time and purchases for experiences. Sailing is an ideal environment to accomplish both. Design your event to make it possible.
Best of luck to you!
May 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
As a kid, my all-time favorite book was Paddle-to-the-Sea. Remember it? Author Holling Clancy Holling takes us on a trip with a toy indian in a birchbark canoe from a Canadian headwater north of Lake Huron, through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence river, past Montreal, and onto the Atlantic Ocean.
The story begins with an indian boy, perhaps 10 years old, carving “Paddle” during the winter months after learning that the water in the brook near his home is destined to tumble over the land all the way to the sea. He thinks he might never make the trip himself, so he decides to send a representative in his place.
Paddle has many adventures on his way to the sea. He is visited by snakes and birds. He is nearly sliced up in a saw mill, run down by ships, and he disappears for months under snow and ice during the long winter. He plummets down the falls at Niagara, and slips silently past noisy, dirty cities. He soldiers on and eventually reaches the Atlantic.
I need not retell the entire story. The book, a 1942 Caldecott Medal winner, is timeless and still in print.
As a kid, I was spellbound by the possibility that a bold traveller could go so far with his tiny boat, never stepping a foot on shore. No roads. No trains. No traffic. No un-passable obstructions.
May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
April 23, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you’ve participated in a Saving Sailing town-call, you’ll recall talking about how sailing (and other important outdoor experiences) suffer under the media avalanche that buries most kids. Of course, the problem transcends sailing. Schools, family and neighborhoods have been crushed too.
I’ve started a new blog called FamilyNeighborhoodSchool.com to study the problem and discuss solutions. I hope you’ll follow it too.
– Nicholas Hayes, Author of Saving Sailing
Have you ever witnessed a kid fast forward through the previews on a rented DVD, or call out Britney Spears swigging a Pepsi as a ploy to get you to consume more corn syrup? Not all kids know advertising to be propaganda, but taking the lead from an adult, some do. Credit the young mind with the ability to grasp symbols and metaphor and see through distortion or exaggeration. When abstract thinking develops, bright colors and catchy music might still attract attention, but a kid can understand that it might be toward something being sold. Kids are smart.
To be clear, advertising messages do shape public opinion, especially those of the impressionable or the emotional. But like emotions, messages and public opinion are fleeting; they are just words, pictures, and fads that fade or shift with time. The impressionable grow up. The emotional find new cares.
Measured in durability over years, messages pale in comparison with experiences in defining who we are, what we believe, and how we act throughout our lives.
Kids don’t become what they see on TV or the Internet. They become what they do. Read more.
April 16, 2013 § 2 Comments
Say the words “sailing” and “mom”, and you’re likely to get complaints that she’s hovering, ruining the fun, getting in the way of self-reliance and confidence. Perhaps.
But here’s the untold story of women and moms in sailing, from the April issue of Sailing Magazine.