Wednesday, April 1, 2020

#MoreKidOnSailboats! The new calling card for kids on offshore boats

(San Diego, CA)- Brett Langolf, owner of the J/34 IOR version called KNEE DEEP in Cleveland, Ohio, was asked to do a presentation at the U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum regarding "how to get more kids on sailboats" using the new hash-tag #MoreKidsOnSailboats! Here is his latest report:

"Hosted in San Diego this year, the 2020 Forum is the foundation for making things happen in American sailing and we were honored to be invited and speak at this conference. Just like a day on the water, we traveled with the whole crew! The Langolf family was off to San Diego.

Brett & Katie Langolf family #morekidsonsailboats
Our #MoreKidsOnSailboats began as a fun way to collect and share our kids’ adventures on our J/Boats and has now turned into a national rally cry to grow the sport we all love. It was (and is) very exciting to be on the front line, share our experience and learn from some of the leaders of the sailing industry. Below is what we learned from kids across the country…

Top 10 Ways to Get More Kids on Sailboats:
  • “Snacks! Candy” - Set them up with snacks & drinks. Trust us, your adult crew could use some gummy bears also (sour gummy bears, especially).
  • "Just Ask Us” - Kids want the opportunity to be a part of a crew.  Skippers need to reach out and set a plan with the child. Be explicit about your crew expectations so the child can be successful.
  • “Give me a job!” - Assign the child a buddy on board! As the buddy, encourage the child to ask questions! Nod and smile, even if the kids say something outrageous!
  • “Make sailing fun” - Yep, it is fun to win but not at the expense of a tense experience.  Leave the yelling for another day and keep the experience relaxed and positive.
  • “Make it safe” - Look for grant opportunities soon from More Kids on Sailboats to outfit your “under 18” crew.
  • “Keep it comfortable” - Set the kids and yourself up for success. These extras still weigh less than your beer. They will forget stuff, throw a couple of freebie regatta sunglasses, some sunscreen and hats to the kids.  They love gear!
  • “Make us feel valued” - Ask for the kid’s opinion on everything from sail trim/course to music selection.  We aren’t saying you need to heed their opinion but asking it goes a LONG way.
  • “Gear us up” - Supply your regular kids with crew gear.  Maybe some one size fits all items like hats.
  • “PLEASE STOP YELLING” - This literally takes the wind out of the sails for kids. 
  • “Capture it for us” - We are living in the digital world.  The younger generation especially likes to share their experiences with their peers on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc).  Embrace it. Take lots of photos & videos and share everywhere!! This is free advertising for your boat, your club, your crew and the sport.