Margaret Holllister, Pine, had the toughest assignment of the weekend to keep us all in line and on task to complete the myriad organizational issues required to initiate a fleet in the ILYA. In addition, she opened up new opportunities for our youth and provided a framework for implementation in 2012. Fleet bylaws, ILYA bylaw changes, committee formation, schedule of events, future bids and schedules and the daunting task of boat purchases were all on her docket. Whew! She was a whirlwind but the new fleet is in capable hands with its new leadership. Welcome 420's.
The new committee is composed of a core group of individuals who have been meeting since the October Board approval of the fleet. New youth, western reps and advisory industry individuals were assigned to create the energy that was evident all weekend. We can be proud of our articulate youth with a vision for the class. Margaret presented the philosophy of the fleet's role in the ILYA. The 420 is to serve as a bridge from our youth boats to our scows. The sole initiative is to provide our member clubs with a vehicle to maintain our older junior sailors with a means to keep sailing until scow age. The 420 class committee will expend its efforts in building fleets in the Inland to assist member clubs. The effort is to be grassroots rather than centered on high-end, individual efforts.
The 420 committee is Hollister leading a north/south contingent of parents, two industry reps and four youth. For the initial organizing committee, youth were selected from MN, SE WI and the Chicago area. In addition a college graduate was added for a view with more experience.
The HS spring and fall schedule provides a full complement of weekend activity. Events run in HS are for the most part rotation of boats with an A and B component. The ILYA events will be initially a mix of individual and rotational use until we build the fleet numbers in the south. This fleet brings the ILYA member clubs a new dimension as most 420s are club-owned. Discussion of our summer events did not include teams of A and B.
Okauchee will lead us off with a clinic Memorial Day which will feature a coaching and sailor segment. Many of our schools are in the position of wanting to develop a 420 program but with no one experienced in the boat use, rigging, and techniques. Okauchee will host an event to teach the local coaches about the boat in addition to the more traditional components of sailing the boat. In SE WI a sailor's clinic will be held June 9-10; a similar clinic in the north June 16-17. Then the one-day regatta circuit begins with inclusion of the 420 added onto existing events. The host lakes are Beulah, Nagawicka, Geneva, Cedar, Oshkosh and then the culmination of the ILYA activity with our Champs on Mendota. These events are weekday to minimize competition with homelake racing --- where we would hope eventual series will be scheduled as clubs/individuals purchase boats.
Both Pewaukee and Geneva have stepped forward to provide use of boats, storage of boats and both have established a means to welcome our sailors in terms of membership.
Our future lies in the hands of these talented young sailors who participated fully in the formation of an inclusive structure to promote continued sailing in the ILYA. Thanks to all for a hardworking, productive weekend.
NOW WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Begin discussions this week, call a special meeting on your lake in the next two weeks. How is your club going to participate? Group purchases are being organized now. Along the I-94 corridor, it appears the boats will be sailed on Tue and Thu nights at Pewaukee and Geneva - along with the aforementioned one-day events. Your club does not have to deal with schedule changes this year - fundraise, beg, borrow but get your youth access to boats
- Address throwouts, average points to allow your youth sailors to participate in our Youth Champs
- Begin the paradigm shift of "graduating" from the X boat. Consider your sailors now as junior sailors and provide opportunties
- Offer to transport boats we are borrowing if your lake is one of the hosts of one of the mini-regattas mentioned above. Pewaukee and Geneva have graciously offered the use of boats. This is a new venture where TOGETHER we are creating opportunities for our juniors. We need a collaborative effort to create this experience with shared boat usage. This takes club effort to orchestrate a change of this magnitude.
WHAT DO YOU GET IN RETURN?
- The promise of the longevity and health of a club for the immediate and longterm future
- A vitality immediately as you maintain participation of this age group
- Increased activity around your site; more visibility to our neighbors of our marvelous sport
- Recognition of your club as your sailors develop skills and bring attention to your efforts
Thanks to Margaret for keeping us on task.