Spirit of America Offering Free Boating Courses to Kids


By partnering with schools, park systems and other organizations, Spirit of America is teaching kids to paddle, sail and power craft for free. The Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, organization was founded in 1995 by the Great Lakes Power Products Company. In its first year, 57 students graduated. The program now operates in 20 locations and gives each partner $250,000 in equipment to get them started. Over 20,000 kids have completed the 40 hours of on-the-water introduction, classroom lessons and in-pool practice needed.

“We’re bringing young people to the water,” says Cecilia Duer, the president and executive director. “We’re teaching basic boating, then showing what else they can do with it.”

The organization hopes to raise $2.5 million in 2019 for the 25th anniversary. They are also looking for members of the 1995 graduating class (pictured above). If you were one, contact 

For more information, visit

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South Shore JUN17