Summer camp. Warm, sunny days that seem never to end. Playing outside, swimming in the lake. It sounds wonderfully nostalgic, doesn't it?
Summer in Southcentral Alaska, thus far, has been anything but idyllic. Anchorage's average temperature was fourth-coldest on record for the month of July. Rains have settled in early this year, or so it seems.
Yet, none of that could get in the way of fun times for Mountain View Boys and Girls Club kids. A group of five hardy young Alaskans aged 10 to 12 prepared this past week to learn how to sail, thanks to a state grant.
The young sailors had a quick classroom orientation at the Alaska Sailing Clubhouse on Big Lake, about an hour north of Anchorage, before heading out onto the water. Led by trainers from Trailside Discovery Camp, they learned the lingo, like sail, keel and what it means to tack, and also got a quick intro on how to move in the direction they wanted to go.
Instructor Hannah Brewster, a native of Massachusetts, sped from boat to boat in a zodiac, offering tips and suggestions, and inspiring the kids with a bit of sailboat racing trivia. "Try to go around me, but don't hit the boat," she said. "In the Olympics, if you hit the buoy you have to go around it again."
The six boats were ordered from a Dutch manufacturer and took four months to arrive. They'll be used by both Trailside and the Alaska Sailing Club.
Contact Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com