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Author Topic: Dan Hearn Proposal - Grow through youth involvement  (Read 25664 times)
Ken Smith
ADMIN

Posts: 289


sail often, travel light


« on: May 15, 2007, 09:40:06 PM »



Proposal Respectfully Submitted by Daniel Hearn (US 5352)
to the IDNIYRA—North America

April 10, 2007

The Twenty-O-Eight Initiative

The Cold Reality

Ice sailing in the United States/North America has been in a slow rate of decline for many years. It could easily be argued that our sport is in a state of crisis. In spite of the fact that we have sailors actively racing in their 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s, we have more sailors retiring than we have youth sailors coming in. There is no shortage of challenges to getting youth back into ice sailing. Some of them we can affect, others we can’t. This proposal is an aggressive effort to address our most pressing need:

Getting youth exposed to ice sailing and making it easy for them to give it a try.

We need to fill our “trial funnel” with lots of kids, with the full knowledge that precious few will fall out the bottom and stick with it for a lifetime. The DN has become too fast and too expensive to be the youth development class for ice sailing. The Ice Opti is the perfect boat for many reasons, most notably, because the boat is relatively inexpensive and because its performance is a good match for novice skill levels.

The Vision

Twenty new Ice Optis on the ice in North America in 2008.

How Do We Do It?

We “re-invest” in our sport now, before it’s too late. We’ve got more than $35,000 in our treasury. What better use for some of those funds than to reinvest it back into our sport?

    * We spend $10,000 out of the treasury to build 20 new Ice Optis before the next sailing season.
    * We call on ice sailors across the United States/North America to donate their time, talent and resources to help us stick to our modest $500/boat cost.
          o This is more reachable than many may think. A proposal has already been secured from Stan Macur in Poland who would build fiberglass hulls for us at a cost of about $350 each. And Don Williams, from our Central Region, is currently building a wood Ice Opti for the specific purpose of determining the feasibility of creating our own mold here in the states.
          o Chris Teal, also from the Central Region, has offered to build inexpensive runners comparable to a set brought back from the Junior Worlds.
          o Many sailors from the West and Central Regions have offered to provide assistance to make this happen. And I am certain that with the right leadership, sailors from the Eastern Region would pitch in as well.
    * We line up designated representatives in each Region to coordinate efforts within their region.
    * We create a dedicated website to document progress taking place across the country. We post pictures and stories on a regular basis. We have prominent links on IDNIYRA.org and the Bulletin Board to maintain a very high profile for the initiative. And we secure links on other iceboating club sites across the U.S. and Canada.
    * On the website we provide a detailed accounting of how the funds are being spent. And we use this same area as a “public” place to thank businesses and individuals for their donations to the effort.
    * We use these boats to support the North American Junior Championships that will take place for the first time in 2008.

What Do We Do With the Boats?

We give them free to ice sailing clubs across the United States/Canada. All we ask is that they use the boat(s) to allow kids to give the sport a try under their tight supervision. In some clubs it could be “learn to ice sail” type situations. For others it could be Juniors who are a bit more committed and will sail the boat(s) regularly for an entire season. (If practical, perhaps we ask clubs or individuals who are able, to make a donation back to the IDNIYRA Junior Program in exchange for their use of the boats). The hope is that this exposure will motivate the Junior Sailors’ families to build or buy their own boats, either Ice Optis or DNs and continue on in the sport in bigger and better ways.

How Should We Think About This Proposal?

There’s always the option of doing nothing and allowing our sport to die a slow and certain death. But I don’t like the sound of that, do you? I’d like to see us reach higher than we ever thought possible, and surprise even ourselves when we get there.

In the best case scenario, we’ll be wildly successful bringing many new Juniors into ice sailing. Our domestic ice sailing future will look brighter than ever. And in time we eventually challenge international powers such as Poland, Estonia, Sweden and Germany, even at the Junior level.

In the worst case scenario, we end up with 20 boats around the country not getting as much use as we hoped, as quickly as we hoped. But to me that’s not failure, it’s just slower progress. And that would be progress back in the right direction!

Timing

To meet this goal, it’s important to get moving right away. I understand this is aggressive and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what the official protocol is for getting this approved. What I do know, is that it is time for action and that every effort needs to be made to expedite a decision. (Note: If we are to take advantage of the generous offer from Stan Macur in Poland, he would need a decision before summer).

Please contact me at any time to discuss this proposal. Best to reach me on my cell at 608-692-4007. Or e-mail at danielhearn@tds.net.
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Ken Smith
DN4137US
Ken Smith
ADMIN

Posts: 289


sail often, travel light


« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 09:44:54 PM »

I like Mark's suggestion.  While $10k may be a little much for the first year, the thought is a good one.
 
I would like to see the "business model."  Seems like there should be some initial outlay by the junior, even if it is not the whole cost.  But the class and regions and clubs can each sponsor a boat and defray the initial outlay.
 
Also what if we just bumped up registration fees by $10 at the continental regatta?  That would easily generate $1000 a year.  So that boat would read "IDNIYRA North Americans 2008" and every participant would be involved in those 2 boats.
 
But better to start out small and establish a model that works, then it will be easy to build on.
 
David Zoll
US4911
 
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Ken Smith
DN4137US
Ken Smith
ADMIN

Posts: 289


sail often, travel light


« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 06:07:44 AM »

Dan: 

Please consider that Stan's mold and most of the US
Optis to date do not consider the sitting posture of
the sailors, and the side boards are, IMHO too low.
Nothing worse than having a spin-out and getting the
poor pilot ejected, dejected, and discouraged.  Make
the sideboards at the hip area to the seat back at
least six inches high or more to reduce this
possibility.

Also, the Opti is a great fun-sailing boat not only for
kids, but for novices, wives, girl friends, race
committee transport, reporters etc., if the cockpit is
wide enough for a typical lard butt American, like me.

If you are building one, my suggestion based on experience
is to make them taller at the aft part of the side boards and
wider in the hip area.  Freed from the shapes reqired by the
DN one-design rules, an s-shaped plan-view for the side boards
makes it possible to do this in the reduced length of the boat.
      ^
     |  |
    /    \
|||      |||| 
    \___/
     
One last thought, I am certain the Annual Argument
included a promise from Leon LeBeau to make a $1000
dollar donation for just such a purpose as Dan
proposes.

Ken Smith
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Ken Smith
DN4137US
Scott Brown
Class Member
*
Posts: 35


« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2007, 10:42:33 AM »

I applaud Dan's energies, but this is not a good idea.

The purpose of our association, as is any other, is to organize the ACTIVITY.  When we start messing with ASSETS and OWNERSHIP we're opening up Pandora's box in many ways.

$500 bucks (less re-sale) is not too much for somebody to spring for a hull.  I'd be glad to volunteer my time to anyone in the Twin Cities to build a hull or two, but bring your checkbook.


Scott
US 5298
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Daniel Hearn
Class Member
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Posts: 111


« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007, 10:56:45 AM »

When it comes to youth development of our sport, we're a class organization with "no skin in the game."  Is $10,000 a big commitment? You bet, and that's exactly what makes it good.  At the annual meeting in Oshkosh 2 years ago the topic of Junior Ice Sailing in the US got a bit of air time.  How much progress have we made since then? Not much....no skin in the game.  Without a financial commitment, the class will continue to be rather apathetic toward addressing this very pressing need. 
 
If it makes people feel better, then let's look at this investment as seed money.  Maybe we even sell the boats to clubs and/or families at our cost, so it's not really affecting the association's ASSETS at all.  Scott is right, the association should promote ACTIVITY.  But there is no activity without boats.  Without boats, there are no kids.  Without kids, there is no future. 
 
Let's rip Pandora's Box wide open!  To what great apocalypse would it really lead?

Daniel Hearn
US 5352

(Don't get the wrong impression.  Scott and I have a lot in common.  We grew up in the same home town and work in the same profession.  We are friends and will remain so.  We just happen to be on differenct ends of the spectrum on this issue.  Well, at least the "how to get it done" part). 
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DN 805
Class Member
*
Posts: 267


« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2007, 01:21:11 PM »

Reality check!
  It seems to me that the initiative to put Ice Optimists under junior sailors needs to be at the local level where there can be one-on-one contact between the sponsoring enthusiasts, in the form of an individual or a club, and targeted families with junior sailors.  Acquiring the boats by building or buying them is the easy part.  Nurturing the use of those boats is the challenge.  The sponsoring enthusiasts need to be willing to take the time to help the juniors learn how to safely sail the boats.  The sponsors must be willing to take time away from their own sailing to devote time to junior training.   
  Think about how youngsters learn to sail in the summer.  They go to sailing class at a local yacht club or community sailing center and spend several days a week on the water.  During the ice sailing season the youngsters are in school during the week and we don't have ice sailing instructors and ice sailing schools.
  Before we get excited about making boats available, we should be learning how the European enthusiasts have been organizing ice sailing instruction for youngsters.    In my experience it seems that when a boat (winter or summer) is made available to be used without the users investment of time or money that the user most frequently makes no commitment to use the boat.  And because with an ice boat the young sailor's parents would likely need to transport the boat to the ice site, the nurturing of parental commitment will be essential.
  If there is to be financial support from the DN Class organization.   I think that rather than the money going to the building of boats that the money should be used to promote via website, to develop the training programs, establishing a instructional materials and sponsoring events ranging from seminars for parents to on-the-ice events for the young sailors.     
  Families readily spend $2500.00 to buy a youngster a new entry level summer sailing Optimist.  The child takes the Optimist to the local club where there is an instructional program.
  The instructional program is where the DN class organization should focus it's efforts.

...Jane Pegel

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us5285
Newbie

Posts: 21


« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2007, 11:44:12 AM »

 Count me in on the "If you buld it they will come" side. I built an ice-opti lat year and my daughter sailed it this year and both will be at the new ice-opti championships Dan Hearn is organizing for next year.
 The kids like iceboating but what they really like ,just like in the summer, is to sail with people their own age.Sailing around with dad is o.k. but sailing with friends and new friends is what keeps them interested and comning back for more.
 The more boats that are kid and beginner friendly the better.I think the ice-optis will not only good to get kids into iceboats but also to get beginner adults into the sport.
 I'll let anyone who wants to sail my DN try it. But a lot of new sailors seem imtimidated by the uncofterable sailing position, the lack of visibility, and the speed of the modern DN.OYu almost have to beg even some good sailors to try your boat. Ice-optis, similar to skimmers don't look to imtimidating they're small, "cute",you sit straight up, you can see well at all times, and they are very controlable. Yet still give you that thrill that only an iceboat can give you.
 I guess I'm trying to say that I don't think having abunch of begining boats around the country willdo anything but help the sport.
 At worst we will have spent money giving people and kids the oppurtunty to become involved and perpetuate the sport we love. Is there any other better use of our money than helping grow our great sport. I for one can not think of one.
 As per Janes comments whom I greatly respect. My  kids sail out of North Cape Yacht Club in the summer. A club that has done well over the years  producing very good junior sailors ,recently Anna Tunnacliff among others. The boats they sail are provided by someone other than themselves. In this case the club. Attending the junior sailing meetings I can confindently say that if you just talked about sailing and what we should do in "classroom" situations, we would have very little interest in the second best activity on water,"soft water sailing"
 The reality check is that when you look around the pits at an iceboat regetta most of the American faces are old.
 Chris US 5285
The glass is still half full.........................






 
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DN 805
Class Member
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Posts: 267


« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2007, 07:31:20 AM »

Now you're getting closer to identifying the issues.

What sorts of issues are discussed at the North Cape meetings regarding the junior program?  I imagine the issues are much like those discussed here at Lake Geneva:  hiring qualified administrators and instructiors; maintaining equipment;
safety boats;  budgets - in flow and out flow; event schedules; maintaining 501(c)3 status to attract donations; and, last but not least,  liability insurance costs. 

Acquiring the boats is the easy part.
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Scott Brown
Class Member
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Posts: 35


« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2007, 08:11:18 AM »

Jane is spot on . . . as usual.


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us5285
Newbie

Posts: 21


« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2007, 07:11:31 PM »

You can tell from my article that I work on boats for a living and don't write for one.  I guess I wasn't very clear.  My point was that with most beginning junior sailors they DON'T CARE about the instructors, or the facility, or the quality of the organization they belong to.  They like to SAIL and to hang around with their friends and goof off. They come to the boat club because the BOATS are there.  The BOATS they have fun with.  The BOATS they sail with the other kids on. My daughters and their friends judge the instructors and coaches by how much fun they have with them, not on their roll tack coaching technique.  Granted as their skill level progresses they do start to pay more attention to those other things, but not at the beginning level.  We are at the pre-beginning level in kids ice boating.  There are no true entry level boats for kids to use.  You can go to any sail club around and get a sail on a opti or F.J. or whatever.  There are what ? 4 - 5 ice optis in the COUNTRY.  You can have the best web site and sales pitch in the world, but with no boats to sail the kids will find other things to DO.  Kids like to DO THINGS.  I also thought aquiring the boats would be a fairly easy thing to do but I'm starting to be convinced that this might be the hardest thing to do.


Chris US5285

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Scott Brown
Class Member
*
Posts: 35


« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2007, 12:15:16 PM »

Chris:

You make some nice points, but the issues are getting confused.

It was said that iceboating is in dire straights.  I disagree.  Surely, we have work to do to help people get involved, but saying we're in trouble (when we're not) is damaging in itself.

It was said that building a set of boats will serve as a feeder program.  I disagree.  The net gain is zero.

Boating of any kind requires commitment.  If some parents want their kids to sail iceboats, then why can't those parents follow Dan's example and build/pay their own way.  If the goal is to provide opportunity for junior kids to sail iceboats, then it would help to stop focusing on hosting World Championships (which is not the objective) and think about the pond outside your window.





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Aaron Stange
Class Member
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Posts: 4


« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2007, 04:45:19 PM »

I think the idea of building a few ice opti's for kids to tryout would be a fantastic idea.  I can hardly believe I'm reading opposition to it on this forum.  I was lucky to be introduced to iceboating at a very young age and I must say its part of the reason I'm hooked to this day.  I grew up sailing hard and soft water boats that did not belong to me.  I actually still do?  If it wasn't for those opportunites, I'm not sure I would still be in the sport.

The International Lightning Class has just undertaken almost an identical project this year
The main focus is on getting youth involved.  I encourage everyone to read the article.  This would be a great example to follow in the DN class.
http://www.lightningclass.org/Boat_Grant/2007grantees.htm

I've learned a lot about sailing in life, but I've learned more about life from sailing.  "Stop thinking of reasons why we can't and think of ways we can".  This is the way winners think and this is the way we should be teaching our kids to think.

Aaron Stange
DN 4480  (\_ ^
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Scott Brown
Class Member
*
Posts: 35


« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2007, 07:21:31 PM »

Aaron:

This is apples and oranges. Your project is supported by private funds. 

The core issue remains -- someone needs to make the case that there is a group of potential iceboaters that live in households that can't spring for $500. 

Save the passion play.  We're not against "youth sailing", and Jane and I have independently put as much effort into pulling new people into our sport as anyone.  We've just been around long enough to know that Public boats is a losing proposition. 

Stay local.  Buy your own boats and I'll buy my own as well.  If this group focused on asking for the donation of time and energy, it would be better off.
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DN 805
Class Member
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Posts: 267


« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2007, 08:42:45 AM »

Does anyone know the criteria that was used to determine to whom the Lightning Class provided boats?     I assume the recipients already knew how to sail, because the deal was that they would be supplied competitive equipment, so they must be expecting to race in Lightning events.    If this is the case, the Lightning grant program differs significantly from the proposed Ice Optimist program, where the proposal is to introduce novices to iceboating.  The age of the grantees in the Lightning class also differs significantly from the Ice Optimist prospects.

If it seems worthwhile to similate the Lightning class grant program, then the DN Class.  might consider providing two competitive DNs to applicants in a specified age category (like 18 to 25 years) with a committee establishing criteria for selection.  A target group might be the individuals from northern iceboating states who are collegiate sailors.

...Jane Pegel
 
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Geoff Sobering
Class Officer
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Posts: 461



WWW
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2007, 10:41:56 AM »

Life's been too busy for me to weigh in, but I've been following this discussion ever since the 2006 Annual Meeting (and actually before, when Dan started working to build a local Jr. fleet here in Madison).

I think the thread here has gotten a bit "off track" in recent posts where it appears people believe Dan's proposing to give boats to individuals.  He's not.  The proposal is:
Quote
We give them free to ice sailing clubs across the United States/Canada. All we ask is that they use the boat(s) to allow kids to give the sport a try under their tight supervision.
(emphasis mine).

The idea here is to lower the barrier of entry for families to who don't want to spend $500-$1000 dollars (and the building-time) just to see if their kid likes to iceboat.  I think the plan is that the kids who take to the sport would be expected/encouraged to assemble their own program, and the loaner boats would be used to recruit additional families.

This is really a catalytic program.  None of the expenditure is consumed, but rather re-used again and again to allow the largest possible population of kids the opportunity to experience iceboating.  I see this program as more similar to the EAA's Young Eagles Program that introduces kids to flying.  Dan's proposal provides for a more extended "introductory experience", but the fundamental concept is the same: get the kids involved.  Once they're hooked, I think our local club's have pretty good support to help them advance. 

What we're terrible at is outreach, and bringing new people into the sport.  That's what this program really is about.

Cheers,

Geoff S.
US-5156
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