Sail Training Program for Youth In St. Mary's

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Sail Training Program for Youth In St. Mary's

7/19/2011

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Annapolis MD (July 18, 2011) - As the Brendan Sail Training Program for Youth with Learning Differences begins its 28th season, founder James Muldoon and others associated with the program recently celebrated the accomplishments of the students and volunteers who participated in the 2010 program at an awards ceremony held at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.The award winners hailed from Ann Arundel, Prince Georges and St Mary’s Counties.

This summer’s camps are just finishing in Annapolis but have openings for the St. Mary’s County camp in July. The Brendan program is designed for “kids who learn differently,” according to its founder. “Often these kids learn best by ‘doing’ rather than hearing, or watching, or reading about something,” Muldoon noted.

Many years ago, Muldoon observed that sailing came naturally to many youngsters with learning differences and envisioned a program where they would not only enjoy sailing, but learn how to handle themselves in emergencies, how to stay safe, how to help others, and how to work with a team.

Since the program was conceived, more than 600 young people, ages 11 to 18, have been introduced to the joys of sailing, and, in the process, improved relationships with their peers and built self-esteem, confidence and maturity.

The following are the sailing stars of the 2010 program:

Gordon McIntire of Bowie received the “NoGutsNoGlory” award for outstanding achievement for ages 11-14 at the Annapolis school. This award is named after the sailboat "Nogutsnoglory," owned by Jean and Howard Kluttz. Sheree & Kelly Bjornerud, longtime volunteers with the program, presented the award, saying of McIntire: “He loves being on and around the water, and is always mindful of the environment and the needs of his fellow students. He is safety conscious for himself, as well as for others, and never hesitates to lend a helping hand.”

Stephen Hunt of Greenbelt received the Jerry and Kathryn Wood Award for outstanding achievement at the 11-14 age level at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp. This award is named after former owners of the Annapolis Sailing School, which has housed the Brendan Program free of charge since its inception. Volunteers Lisa and Michael Kelley presented the award, and said of Hunt: “Although he didn’t know much about sailing when he arrived, this award winner committed himself to meet each day with a positive outlook and an eagerness to get on the water. He made himself at home in the group and his enthusiasm was infectious.”

Joseph Gummel of Pasadena received the Arthur Birney Award for outstanding achievement at the advanced level (ages 15-18) at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp. This award is named after Arthur Birney, the owner of Port Annapolis where the program’s orientation and swim test is held. The Kelleys also presented this award, calling Gummel “a dynamic individual who knew how to channel his limitless energy and enthusiasm to boost the group’s morale. He used the knowledge and skills he had acquired from his previous years with Brendan to benefit everyone in the class. His positive example inspired his fellow sailors both on and off the water and he emerged as a true leader.”

Three volunteerism awards also were given this year.

Sheree and Kelly Bjornerud of Annapolis were recognized with the Valerie Hill Award for opening their home each year to the Annapolis Brendan students. Valerie Hill was one of the original Brendan volunteers and an advocate of children and sailing. “They share not only their fabulous property,” said Muldoon of the Bjorneruds, “but also their time and energy, to ensure that each Brendan student has an opportunity to really celebrate that first long sail.”

Lisa and Michael Kelley of St. Mary’s City were given The Molly Mahoney award, which honors the volunteer(s) who contributed most to the success of the St. Mary’s session. Molly Mahoney helped the Brendan Sail Training Program expand to St. Mary's County. Mahoney presented the award, and said of the Kelleys, whose son participates in the Brendan program: “In the summer of 2010, they went above and beyond by hosting, at no cost to the program, an outdoor barbeque at the Brome Howard Inn. It was wonderful for the kids to be treated to a first class outing on the beautiful property grounds.”

MaryPat Daskal of Annapolis received the Daniel Gottlieb award for the parent volunteer contributing the most to the Brendan Sail Training Program. Debbie Ewing presented the award. “Year round, MaryPat consistently promotes Brendan, bringing new faces to the program every summer,” Ewing said. “And when the program is ramping up, she stands ready to offer a helping hand no matter how daunting or time consuming the task. There are many young sailors who have benefited from MaryPat Daskal’s contribution to Brendan.”

“Our transformation from our humble beginnings into what is now a formal summer camp in multiple locations was achieved through a lot of hard work and the continued community support from our friends,” Muldoon said, thanking all who contributed. “Now on to the next great season.”



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