SPRING LAKE, Mich. — While most high schools have a plethora of sports they play and participate in throughout the year, sailing is generally not one of them…except in Spring Lake. In fact, only 13 schools in Michigan have a sailing program.
The Spring Lake High School sailing program was started two years ago by David Wolters, a parent interested in sailing and getting kids on board. The team is comprised of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors and includes both boys and girls. About 20 to 23 kids participate in sessions that run in both the fall and spring. Only 54 high school sailing teams exist in the Midwest.
“The program is making sailing accessible to kids in the community who otherwise don’t know about sailing” says organizer Wolters. The students typically launch on Tuesday and Thursday from the Spring Lake Yacht Club. They have about 10 boats.
Sailing can be an expensive sport. The group is a 501 C-3 non-profit, so that means they can accept donations for supplies, new boats, and just to help with the annual insurance at a cost of about $2,000 a year. While Wolters is committed to the program teaching kids and having fun, the team is seeking a professional volunteer coach.
They mainly just sail and practice for fun and enjoyment, but occasionally compete competitively with other teams from time to time in other states. The kids make new friends, learn new skills, and participate in regattas too.