Children learn at different levels and, educators now tout, can be motivated by different tactics.
Some might take to every word a teacher says, absorbing verbal information like a sponge, while others may need a more hands-on approach, and could require something more stimulating than a windowless classroom.
Enter the nonprofit Brendan Sailing Camp, now operating in its 34th year. The camp is geared toward children ages 11 to 18 with a wide range of learning differences, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, hearing problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The first of two week-long day camps in Annapolis is running this week, and those will be followed up by a camp at St. Mary’s College of Maryland that includes both daytime sessions and overnight sessions from July 18 to 27.
Children are taught how to sail in a non-competitive environment, and how to use sailing as a foundation for building life skills, self-confidence and social ability.
Charlie Arms had been named sailing director last year after helping to update curriculum for the program earlier in 2017. Last summer, she began to fully appreciate the challenges and the rewards that working with children offers.
“It had been a few years since I had been sailing with kids, on the beach,” Arms said. “It was really rewarding for me.”
The longtime sailor was named as executive director of the program at the end of last summer, and decided to also continue directing the camp herself this summer.
“The whole program is evolving,” Arms said, adding that she and a new board of directors would like to see it expand nationally, possibly offering programs on the West Coast as well as southern East Coast and elsewhere.
The founder and CEO of Brendan Sailing is Jim Muldoon, a former trustee of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Muldoon was inspired to start the program in 1985 after seeing his son, who is dyslexic, became a confident sailor and how those skills translated to other pursuits in the young boy’s life, according to a release from the program.
Parents start noticing immediate differences in their child’s behavior after a summer session. Lisa Whelan, a parent from the St. Mary’s overnight camp, said in the release, “My son gained a sense of confidence that extended to his day-to-day life. Before Brendan he was shy, but the boy we picked up from camp was more engaging, happy, and relaxed. I attribute this not just to learning how to sail, but also to the instructors he worked with and the new friends he made.”
More than 600 students have attended these camps and on the final day of both sessions, parents are invited to take a sail with their camper to show off the skills they have acquired.
Tuition assistance for the $650 camp is available through Brendan’s scholarship program.
Visit the camp’s website at www.brendansailing.com or call 202-638-2788 for more information.
Hollywood carnival starts up next week
The Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department’s annual carnival will be held Thursday through Sunday, July 5 to 8, and again Thursday through Monday, July 12 to 16, beginning at 7 p.m. each night. There will be food, rides and games. Unlimited rides per night cost $10, or tickets may be purchased separately. There will also be free nightly prizes, children’s bicycle raffles and a treasure chest cash prize raffled on the last night. For more information, visit www.hvfd7.com.
Upgrades to Nicolet Skate Park underway
Plans are in the works to enhance the Nicolet Skate Park, located in Lexington Park. Some of the changes include eliminating the skatepark fees, increased park supervision and necessary repairs made over the summer. The skate park is open daily, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is usually unsupervised, except during beginner hours, which are held Thursdays and Saturdays, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Some of the repairs that are planned for the 2003 skatepark include patching and painting to smooth the bowl finish; removing and relocating rails; removing steps and stairs and converting the area to a ramp; widening the sidewalk; and enlarging the skate area by installing a concrete pad next to the pavilion.
Other areas of Nicolet Park, located on Bunker Hill Drive in Lexington Park, will have increased park supervision by county staff. Supervision will also be provided at the water sprayground during all hours of operation (fee for the water sprayground will remain).
Meet the champ
“Swift” Jarrett Hurd, an Accokeek native and current Unified WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion, will visit the Knowledge Boxing Center in Lexington Park on June 28 at 6 p.m. All are welcome to come out to the center, located at 21310 Great Mills Road, to meet, take pictures with and congratulate the champ. Call 301-481-2978 for more information.
Take a picture of nature
The 15th annual Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest runs now through Aug. 31. Winners will be featured in the department’s 2019 calendar and published in the winter 2019 edition of the magazine. Enter online or by mail for a chance to win a cash prize, state parks passports and other awards.
Photographers may enter photos featuring birds, insects, flora, recreation, scenic landscapes, weather and wonder, or wildlife. Judges will select first, second and third place winners by season. There will also be a “fan favorite” selected by popular vote on Facebook that will also be printed in the calendar and magazine.
Nearly 300 photographers submitted 1,500 photos last year. The entry fee is $10 for up to three photos and $3 for each additional entry.
For more information, visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/photocontest.aspx.
No bingo on Friday
Bingo at Father Andrew White School in Leonardtown will not be held this Friday, June 29, due to a conflict with the school’s gym use. Bingo, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council #1470, will resume on Friday, July 6.
Food drive challenge helps bus get stuffed
St. Mary’s County residents stepped up to a recent challenge during the county’s Stuff the Bus food drive, which was held May 19 despite stormy weather conditions.
The annual event is held to help stock local food pantries. STS buses were stationed at three local grocery stores and county government employees donated at their workplace. A total of 1,880 pounds of food was collected and delivered to St. Mary’s Caring pantry in Great Mills, Mt. Zion Church pantry in Mechanicsville and Immaculate Heart of Mary pantry in Lexington Park.
Youth advisory group seeking members now
The county commissioners are establishing the St. Mary’s County Youth Advisory Commission so younger citizens will have a chance to provide feedback and recommendations on public policies and programs.
Members are being sought now, and should be active and passionate representatives of St. Mary’s youth.
Members will be appointed by the St. Mary’s County commissioners, with one representative for each of the commissioner districts, eight at-large members and four adult ex officio members. Members must be 16 to 22 years of age on July 1 and serve a two-year term. Individuals interested can go to www.stmarysmd.com/voluntr to fill out an application.
Register children now for kindergarten in fall
St. Mary’s public schools’ kindergarten registration for the 2018-2019 school year is now open and will continue through the summer. Parents of children who will be 5 years old by Sept. 1 this year should register at the school assigned to their physical address.
Questions about the program and registration, including required documents, may be directed to Jessica Cotugno, supervisor of elementary programs, at 301-475-5511, ext. 32115.
For more information about which school to register at, see www.smcps.org/dss/capital-planning/find-a-school-by-your-address or call 301-475-4256, option 6.
Rescue squad in search of members
The Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary is looking for new members to join in helping the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad provide emergency medical support to the community. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad building on Lawrence Avenue in Leonardtown. Anyone interested in joining can stop by a meeting or call 301-475-5624 to speak to a membership committee member.