It was great to see Charles D. Pope honored and recognized for the foundation and building of YSFIRC on September 6 at Vero Beach City Hall. About 30 members of the YSFIRC community attended to see the presentation by the members of the Vero Beach City Council. Outside the formal chambers, there was a reception for the Popes where Chive owner Travis Beckett provided the delectable edibles.
In addition to the spoken words and certificate of recognition by the city, Charlie had a few words too, especially noting the city’s support throughout the years. His words are included here:
Thank you for this honor. I have been the face behind Youth Sailing Foundation but many people are responsible for its success.
Among those are the VB City Council, our Volunteers, our Board of Directors, our Donors, Business Sponsors and my dedicated wife, Chris.
Events along the way:
7-1/2 years ago we started in a space at the Vero Beach City Marina, thanks to the VB City Council and then City Manager, Jim Gabbert.
When we grew too big for the VB City Marina, Councilman Jay Kramer found our current building at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
When applying for a lease at the Wasterwater Treatment Plant, several of us worked for days creating a Power Point presentation. I came up to the front here to set up our computer for the presentation and then Mayor Pilar Turner asked what I was doing. I told her we have a presentation, she said we know all about you and believe in you. Get up here and sign this lease.
At the lease signing, Peggy Lyons, Assistant City Attorney, asked if we offered Adult lessons. This planted a seed and soon after when we started Adult lessons, she was the first to sign up and enjoy.
Past Mayor Dick Winger became one of our sailing instructors and this proved very helpful.
Jim O’Conner has been very supportive along the way as has Tim McGarry.
Our original plan was to have a FREE 10 boat program for children age 9-14. We never dreamed how well it would be accepted and grow. When our 14 year old kids outgrew our sailboats and realized we had no larger boats to keep them sailing. With research we discovered the popular Club 420 2-person racing sailboat for HS age youth and bought a couple of them. We now have 20 of these boats which are used for VB High School, Indian River Charter HS and home-schooled kids who race in teams. This fall our plans are to add St. Ed’s HS.
VBHS gave out Varsity Letters to sailors on the VBHS team the past 2 years. The first year they did that our attendance doubled overnight.
In 7-1/2 years our 10 boat program has grown quickly and successfully to 60 sailboats with about 10 safety boats used by teaching instructors. Over 700 local youth have participated in our FREE learn-to-sail program.
Many of our devoted Volunteers are here this evening. We have over 50 dedicated volunteers who help us in many capacities.
Local Donors have made Youth Sailing Foundation possible by believing in the importance of teaching children to safely sail on our Indian River Lagoon. This experience builds independence, confidence, and the self-esteem needed to give our young sailors the freedom to explore their full potential, all free of charge. I am extremely grateful for their generous donations.
I would like all our Volunteers, Donors, Sponsors, Board Members, and Associates to please stand for applause.
Many thanks to the vision and support shown by the VB City Council in giving me the tools to start Youth Sailing Foundation for the children of IRC.