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US Sailing launches REACH program to educate youth

by Jake Fish on 29 Nov 2012
US Sailing, the national governing body of the sport, has announced the launch of the REACH Program, an initiative that utilizes sailing as a platform that enables middle school aged youth of all walks of life to embrace education, establish a love of learning and explore productive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based careers.

The REACH program connects educators, sailing instructors, engineers, scientists with today’s youth to provide them with a one of a kind authentic learning experience, giving students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in a cooperative work environment. The REACH program through the leadership of US Sailing provides resources, connections and national partnerships to support organizations, and individuals that utilize sailing as an educational tool connecting youth nationwide to the sport of sailing.

US Sailing Executive Director Jack Gierhart said, 'Sailing is a great platform for building self confidence and leadership and it’s a natural partnership with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Community Sailing Centers are the perfect place to launch this type of programming. We’ve seen how successful they’ve been in working with people from all different backgrounds. That success, combined with the STEM specific focus of the REACH program, opens the door for a whole new educational opportunity.'

'Students will apply classroom learning in the field, collect real time data on wind, current, and water quality. They will analyze the data and become innovators by designing new solutions to the current problems in boat design environmental issues, wind energy, and underwater exploration,' said Jessica Servis, REACH Program Manager at US Sailing.

Phase one of the REACH program includes 10 lesson plans that range from wind and simple machines to robotics and marine science. The modules tightly align with Common Core Standards and the K-12 Framework for Science Education for middle school students. Five programs across the nation administered the program during the fall of 2012, including Community Boating Center (RI), Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (VT), Life Sail (CA), Edison Sailing Center (FL) and New England Science and Sailing (CT).

Phase two will be project based, including a national competition engaging middle school students in the engineering by design process.

For more information on the REACH program, visit us at http://reach.ussailing.org/.

For specific questions regarding this program and how to get involved, please contact Jessica Servis at jessicaservis@ussailing.org.
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