Friday, July 06, 2012
Sailing club members show students the ropes
VISA gives physical education students from Roanoke a crash course in sailing.
Photos by SHERESE GORE | Laker Weekly
A VISA member gives his mates some hands-on sailing instruction.
Students head for the dock.
Cathy Hurst, VISA commodore, gives information to arriving Roanoke County students about the day's schedule and protocol before they head for the dock.
A breeze-free morning did not deter a group of Roanoke County high school students from learning about the principles of sailing on Smith Mountain Lake Thursday.
Cathy Hurst, a retired Roanoke County teacher, said this was the fifth year her organization, the Virginia Inland Sailing Association, has partnered with the Roanoke County school system to promote sailing and seamanship.
"I am extremely sensitive to opening that up to students," she said.
The 39 students, gathered from five Roanoke County high schools, were required to take an online sailing course before attending the event, which was part of a 13-day physical education summer program offered by the school system.
"I wanted to get ahead in school, so I would be able to take more classes, said Cave Spring High School student Samie Casauay, "and this is so much more fun than sitting around at home."
Lynchburg resident Darren Gerlach was one of 24 VISA members who assisted students and volunteered the use of his boat, Xanadu, for the hands-on learning experience.
"Sailing and boating kept me out of trouble as a kid," he said, "so I figure that I might as well help someone else out."
When the students were not sailing, they were learning about water quality from Dawn Luther, environmental educator, and Fran Szechenyi, executive assistant of the Clean Valley Council, a non-profit organization that provides free environmental education to Roanoke City and Roanoke and Botetourt counties.
During the "stream school," the students caught small fish, tested Smith Mountain Lake's pH levels and water temperature, and learned how insects can signify the health of a stream.
Glen Cove Elementary physical education teacher, Bill Pratt along with Donna Culicerto, health and P.E. teacher at Northside High School, said the outing was a good opportunity for the students to enjoy an activity they might not otherwise experience.
"Just the opportunity to see how to sail ... it's a unique experience. A lot of them will come out on motorboats, but they won't come out on sailboats," said Pratt. "So it gives them a different perspective."
Virginia Inland Sailing Association, 450 Sailor's Cove Drive, Moneta. www.visayc.org.