About Us

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Our Mission

    Spirit of America offers a unique, safe and comprehensive water-based educational and recreational program, the Spirit of America Foundation instills confidence and fosters the Spirit of teamwork in our nations youth. Our underlying goals include developing self-esteem while nurturing responsible behavior and positive, lifelong ambitions. 

                ‘Teaching the way our children learn’   

Our History

    Spirit of America, a 501c3 not-for-profit public service organization, exists primarily to serve our nation’s youth with Americas Premier Youth Boating Education Programs.  

    We have been in the business of providing a SAFE and educational introduction to our Country’s young people, their families and their communities, to all types of water based recreational activities in one of the most diverse “hands-on” Classrooms in America since 1995.

Our Vision

Spirit of America shall remain dedicated and committed to continuing their leadership role in advancing the promotion of National standards based education in all disciplines. Our unique curriculum shall touch upon all aspects of recreating on the water; state education courses, drowning prevention, canoe, kayak, stand up paddleboard, sail, powered watercraft and safety equipment – at little to no cost to any student. 


Our program provides communities with a sustainable resource of education and recreation for all generations, inspiring a lifelong stewardship of our natural resources. By offering a critically important program, for the out of school hours in an informal and nontraditional environment, we continue to advance social and life skill development.


We empower our youth by providing a sustainable resource of opportunity with a curriculum which balances the resources of the national on-water, skills-based and knowledge-based standards of education in a diverse and non-traditional classroom. 


We continue to build a national constituency of individuals and organizations who, with the very best instructors in our country, provide our program curriculum in a way for our students to develop lifelong learning skills. Our instructors lead with passion, guiding our students and ensuring a future generation of SAFE – SMART boaters and lifelong recreational enthusiasts which ensures the continued growth of a viable marine industry. ‘Future Boaters … Future Business’ 


We know that being near the water can calm us and connect children their families and communities and that being near the water can reduce stress, amplify creativity and increase innovation and insight. With that in mind, we shall provide introduction to water-based recreational activities in a way for our students to dare to dream, learn, react and develop lifelong learning skills in a unique, safe and educational environment. 

Get on Board

We hope you will join us by offering your support for our programs or by physically getting involved on the water with our young students. 

Meet the Team

It takes a dedicated, passionate and fun loving team to manage programs through local host agencies

Managing Spirit of America and its programs takes a tremendous effort from an outstanding team.

    Allow us to introduce you to our national team and  some of the great organizations that we partner with and who provide volunteer and staff instructors.


    In each location, we are privileged to have some of the finest instructors in the country assisting with our curriculum. Instructors, both volunteer and compensated, come to Spirit from our Partner Organizations. We are grateful for the generosity they show with their time and for their expertise and dedication to changing the future of water based recreation through education.

Get on Board and Get on the Water!

    In each location we have a need for instructors.  Please see our location page for an area near you.  Or, contact the Executive office for more information. 


    Our instructors come from many communities and many National organizations, and shape the Spirit of America programs in many ways, including providing staff and volunteers.

Some of Our National Partners

  • Parks and Recreation Specialists
  • Local Fire Service
  • Local Dive Rescue Teams
  • Local Police Departments
  • United States Coast Guard
  • 4-H
  • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • United States Power Squadrons
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Girl Scouts of America
  • Sea Scouts of America
  • YMCA
  • US Sailing
  • US Powerboating
  • American Sailing Association
  • American Canoe Association
  • State Watercraft Law Enforcement
  • Colleges and Universities

Our National Partners

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United States Coast Guard

Our Spirit of America National programs have been funded in part by the Sport Fish Restoration Boating Trust Fund, administered by the United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety 


We are grateful for their belief in our ability to provide Americas Premier Youth Boating Education program and their continued support of our national programs. 


The local USCG partners in our many locations have been extremely supportive of the program by opening bases and allowing our students to participate in large vessel curriculum on board USCG watercraft between 25' and 87' cutters!  THANK YOU to our great partners!  Many of our graduates have gone on to successful careers in the United States Coast Guard due in part to the mentorship provided to them by these partners. Thank you USCG! 

A testimonial from one of our National Youth Boating Hall of Fame members:

 Wow this is such an honor to even be considered for this award! From as far back as I can remember I had been boating on Lake Erie. Growing up my family and I would go sailing  in Sandusky and  the Mentor Lagoons. My Dad wanted  my brother and I be familiar with boating safety and navigation rules and took us to get our boating license when we were about 12 years old. I started volunteering for Spirit of America in 2002 at the Fairport Harbor location in Lake County, Ohio. Every summer from then on until I graduated high school in 2006 I would volunteer with Spirit of America. After graduation I went to Notre Dame College for one year. During my time there I realized that I wanted something more and that's when I sought out the local Coast Guard recruiting office. I went off to Coast Guard boot camp in October 2007. After graduating the 8 week long boot camp I received orders to be stationed in Virginia Beach on a 87 foot long cutter. I was there for two years and some of my duties that I performed there were, coxswain of the small boat, deck maintenance, boarding team member and crew member of the watch.

  In January 2010 I transferred to Yorktown, Virginia to go thru Boatswains Mate" A" school. "A" school is a vigorous 12 week long school where I was taught how to navigate, plot courses on charts, how to calculate sunrise and sunset, navigation rules and spent 2 weeks operating small boats. Once I completed the 12 week course I advanced to Boatswains mate 3rd class and was sent to a search and rescue station in Annapolis, Maryland.

 I spent 4 years at the station. During my tour I obtained several qualifications including, coxswain on the 45 foot Response Boat Medium and 29 foot Response Boat small, officer of the day, boarding team member, numerous weapons qualifications, chart petty officer, certified in first aid and CPR and in charge of deck maintenance on the small boats. While stationed in Annapolis I was a part of countless search and rescue cases, escorts of cruise ships and law enforcement boardings on the Chesapeake Bay. The station also played a big part in training the Coast Guard auxiliary and civilians on proper boat handling, understanding rules to navigation and boating safety while on the water.

 In 2014 I transferred to Training Center Yorktown in Yorktown, Virginia to become an underway boat instructor on the 45 foot response boat medium and also advanced to boatswains mate 2nd class. My main responsibility at my current duty station is the train and educate future coxswains on how to safety operate the 45 foot RB-M. Junior Coast Guard members travel from all across the nation to come to the 2 week long course. During the course they will be taught proper boat handling skills, how to operate the navigation equipment, policies and procedures, search patterns, and identify engineering casualties. Over the past 3 years I have also volunteered to work with local ROTC and youth groups to educate them on the Coast Guard and boating safety. Teaching has truly become a passion of mine and I can't wait to pass on my love for the water and boating to my children.