Our Programs

Our Winning Formula;Tools For Fun, Learning and Growing

    The Spirit of America program seamlessly blends the fun of safe boating with educational opportunities for young participants to mature and gain self esteem. 


Our programs encourage self confidence, hope, and curiosity by celebrating and challenging each individual child. It is a combination of experiences which continue to make the Spirit of America program successful.


    Our traditional programs are our flagship programs that target middle school aged children.  These programs offer a proven highly successful combination of hands on learning, classroom education and fun which leaves a lasting impression on our participants. 


    Children mature by being entrusted with responsibility for themselves and their “shipmates".   We provide unlimited future opportunities through presentation of subject matter by some of the finest instructors in the country. Spirit of America provides and believes in promoting the spirit of life-long recreational activity which sustains and protects our environment.


Proven Results: To date, Spirit of America Programs have graduated over 16,000 students and spends more than 54,000 hours on the water annually!



image15

Our Programs and Curriculum

image16

Spirit of America Traditional Youth Program; Teaching The Way Our Children Learn

     Spirit of America, established in 1995 as a 501c3 not-for-profit public service organization, exists primarily to serve our nation’s youth with Americas Premier Youth Boating Education Programs.  


Our Mission:

    Offering 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 also include developing self-esteem while nurturing responsible behavior and positive, lifelong ambitions. 


    Our Curriculum meets and exceeds the National On Water Skills Based and Knowledge Based standards in all disciplines of Sail, Human Powered and Power, the Instructional Approach Standard, the National Education, Physical Education and Next Generation Science Standards. 

image17

Compasses and Companionways Program

    The Compasses and Companionways program will continue to provide a curriculum benefitting persons with learning and or physical challenges in a manner unique to any other program in the United States. The Compasses and Companionways program curriculumwas initiated under the name ‘Golden Eagle’ two decades ago, and has evolved to include the traditional standardized curriculum inclusive of all disciplines for all students who can safely participate.  The program curriculum and its components are modified by professionals to comfortably and safely fit the needs of our young students. 

    Compasses and Companionways Program explanation:

Operating at any time of year, included in the traditional program or as a stand-alone program, in locations hosting the Spirit of America programs, students facing physical and or learning challenges may participate in our standardized nontraditional hands-on curriculum which permits all students to grow, becoming emotionally and physically confident, competent and independent. Students will receive a ‘Certificate of Successful Completion’ after each component has been completed and a certificate of graduation at the end of full program completion. 

‘No Child Left at the Dock’©

The program can be used in areas where the traditional Spirit of America program already exists, in areas requesting the traditional program be developed, or as a stand alone program.

image18

The Passport Program

    Designed to provide the entire curriculum of the traditional Spirit of America program to young people living in areas of the country, or the world, where the traditional program is not yet available, Passport participants can be between the ages of 11-17 and will be considered Spirit of America graduates upon successful completion of the program.

    Destination: Spirit of America.  

The required components may be completed in areas of the country offering individual or partial portions of the curriculum disciplines approved by Spirit of America. As participants travel to different areas, for family trips or vacation, they can complete the courses and check off their list of requirements toward graduation. The Passport will be available on line or in your local marine dealer retail locations. Spirit of America is developing destination vacations with major hoteliers to provide a “something for everyone” in the family at their water based locations.

Additional Programs

Teaching the Way Our Children Learn; Special Programs

image19

In keeping with our philosophy of inclusion, we have expanded to a line up of programs that ensure 'No Child is Left at the Dock' .  These Special Programs share the love of water based education with even more participants of all ages, allowing our message to spread and impact additional lives in communities across our country.


 Two of our additional programs included in these special opportunities are in partnership with Brendan Sailing https://www.brendansailing.org  and SeaWorthy in Miami http://www.shakealegmiami.org/miami-sailing-school.htm Our Spirit of America curriculum is offered in a modified spirit with these programs. 

Safe Harbors

image20

Targeting a Reduction in Drowning; At the core of our traditional curriculum are the life saving skills needed to reduce the number of incidental drownings in America. This program targets those critical swimming / water safety skills that demonstrate “water competency” and significantly reduce the likelihood of drowning in all communities.

From Toddler to Senior:This program brings much needed life saving skills to urban and rural areas and at risk demographics.  It includes all children, from toddler to teen, and their families.

Mentorship Programs

image21

Personal Development:Safe Boating Education is only a part of the focus of Spirit of America Programs. The Program also provides an opportunity for the graduates to see themselves in a new light resulting in confident, mature, young adult leaders.

From Students to Leaders:We are committed to affording our program graduates the opportunity to continue on as leaders in their communities. We provide these young people with the support they need to go back to their communities and “teach” safer skills for all boating and water based recreational activities.  We also strongly encourage graduates of the traditional program to return as Jr. Volunteers, Instructors, and eventually Coordinators.

Career Opportunities:Through the many STEM components introduced in the traditional Spirit of America program, students quickly develop a level of interest with longevity for many career opportunities for their futures.

Mom's in the Marina

image22

Confident Caregivers:Moms and all women who may find themselves responsible for young persons participate in an accelerated program of the traditional curriculum to build their skills and confidence.  The program focuses on developing the competence of the participants and also on their ability to keep their children safe.

The Missing Piece: More young people will be introduced to programs, like Spirit of America, by their guardians and caregivers if their caregivers feel more confident on and in the water.  Further, we believe these graduates will be advocates in their own communities and  bring more community boating programs to life.

Dad's on the Dock

image23

Confident Caregivers: Dads and all men who may find themselves responsible for young persons participate in an accelerated program of the traditional curriculum to build their skills and confidence.  The program focuses on developing the competence of the participants and also on their ability to keep their children safe.

The Missing Piece: More young people will be introduced to programs, like Spirit of America, by their guardians and caregivers if their caregivers feel more confident on and in the water.  Further, we believe these graduates will be advocates in their own communities and  bring more community boating programs to life.

Full STEAM Ahead; Science Technology English Arts Math

image24

The infinite components of STEAM can be found throughout the Spirit of America Curriculum. 


We also use the US Sailing 'Reach' program in partnership with our local staff and school opportunities 


Spirit of America provides and believes in promoting the spirit of life-long recreational activity which sustains and protects our environment.

Special Graduate and Community Programs

National Take Our Youth Boating Week

image25

 National Take Our Youth Boating Week is an opportunity each year to share your love of water-based recreation with a young person.  This is a great way for individuals to pass on safety skills and tie generations of boaters together.


National Take Our Youth Boating Week takes place the week surrounding the 4th of July each year.  The 4th  of July is a busy time on the water and the perfect time to remind boaters to be well educated and to keep safety in the forefront of their experience.


In an effort to keep the “Spirit” of our program alive in the grass roots of our country and introduce a young person to boating, individuals are asked to take a photograph and/or create a 30 second video, with a 'safety message',  of boating with a young person and send it to us for a chance to win special prizes for them, their family members and friends.


The Foundation chooses those media entries depicting all that the Spirit of America mission embraces. The top three photographs and / or videos depicting safe boating practices have won prizes.This program is an ongoing, nationally recognized by Congress, annual week-long event dedicated to getting young people safely on the water in boats.


 Applicants must be following all federal and state laws and regulations; proof of a state boating education class certificate for the adult on board, lifejackets properly fitting and in good condition, if registration numbers are visible they must be properly displayed, and no alcohol should be seen in any of the media. 


Detailed information is available in the application.



National Youth Boating Hall of Fame

image26

National Youth Boating Hall of Fame / The Spirit of America Foundation, Inc. is the home of the National Youth Boating Education Hall of Fame. Young people between the ages of 12-24, nominated on an annual basis, will be reviewed and then recognized by a committee reviewing the credentials according to the application guidelines for persons excelling in any of the disciplines of boating, sail, paddle and or power.


We believe in the importance of recognizing our participants, partners, instructors, and volunteers for their outstanding contributions toward making the water a safer place.  Each of the awarded deserves acclaim for their unwavering commitment and countless hours of dedicated service.


Official recognition for a very honorable and distinct nomination, acceptance and induction into the Spirit of America Foundation National Youth Boating Hall of Fame.

In the 24 years of the Spirit of America Foundations existence, this new National honor has been presented to the first four young nominees for their truly inspiring dedication to boating and water safety education and the manner in which they have gone above and beyond to share their knowledge with others at such a young age.  


These young people provide promise for a brighter future for many young adults. Hall of Fame inductees epitomize the meaning of our mission; the Spirit of America Foundation instills confidence and fosters the Spirit of teamwork in our nation’s youth, including developing self-esteem while nurturing responsible behavior and positive, lifelong ambitions. ‘We shall teach the way our children learn’ 


'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 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'. Inductees have exemplified all of this and more! 


We extend our deepest gratitude to our newly inducted Spirit of America National Youth Boating Hall of Fame recipients for all they have done for others as exceptional and extraordinary young people. We are so proud of all of their accomplishments and look forward to following them into a promising future of continued community and family service. 


As a member of this prestigious Hall of Fame members are entitled to a permanent position in the National Youth Boating Hall of Fame and you are entitled to all member benefits. 

  

With our deepest respect and gratitude and on behalf of the entire Executive Board of Directors and Staff of Spirit of America Foundation that we welcome the following into the Spirit of America Foundation National Youth Boating Hall of Fame:

2017 Inductee Dustin Majewski Class of 1995 Inaugural Class, Ohio

2017 Inductee Rosie Garam Packett Class of 2001 Ohio

2018 Inductee Allison Ulrich       Class of 2012 Ohio 

2018 Inductee Nathaniel Cullinan Class of 2009 Ohio 

Testimonials

image27

From our friend Colleen, 2018 Graduate, who shares her experience with others who may be fearful of trying something new. 


What Colleen shares with us will make a difference for so many children. We do recognize and work with those students challenged by more than just daily stressors of being a teenager.


“In the beginning when I had first found out about the program I was pretty excited to hear that I was going to be in because I like boating, sounds like a lot of fun. The idea of getting through day one and going home and being just worn out after being really afraid that I wouldn’t be able to continue because I might get sick or if I can’t do the swimming or if I can’t even stand up on the stand up paddle board. I convinced myself that I am not gonna be able to, but I did! I continued trucking through. I was thinking I just want to do this. I want to accomplish it because I was already here and I thought I’m already doing this.  I’m going to see it through to the end.


And then I get through the classroom work, I’ve passed my test and now we’re out here on the water and the first thing that I’m assigned to do is drive a power boat. I was very afraid of that. I was thinking that I should not be trusted with this I’m gonna crash it we’re going to sink. I had so much anxiety I was so afraid with asthma and being sick and everything it’s terrifying but I got out there and I got to feel like the wind in the breeze and someone was already driving it before I got to. That helped. I thought it’s just that I want to do this so much. When I got to steer I picked it up so fast. I finished before I knew it and it was just amazing. I feel like I could’ve done that all day. I can’t wait to do that again.  I’m going to say kayaking was a different experience. I ran out of breath. My arms and hips got tired but it was still a lot of fun. But, you know even if I was getting wet every 2 seconds it was ok. OK, I’m just mostly, like if you have any challenges in your life whether it be physical or mental or emotional you must try and overcome things, because I have had to wear braces in order to keep myself up properly. I had trouble on the stand up paddle board but I recognized that. That was something I can’t do so I didn’t force myself to do it but that’s not stopping me from sitting on the board and paddling.

If you’re afraid that you’re going to tip the boat over into the water if that happens you’ve got instructors and people here who care about you and want to protect you and nothing

that’s here is going to hurt you because you’re doing this safely and with knowledge you’ve gained first.

This program makes me feel so good. I love to go on the water. It’s so scary and so beautiful all at the same time. Don’t over think the waves wind. Trust. Trust yourself and your instructors.

If the boat has a problem. Trust you’ll get back. After you take the course you know what to expect. Trust yourself and your knowledge. and I trust in my instructors. If you’re put yourself down you’ll never trust in your ability. Don’t be afraid to tell others what your challengers are. They have to know. Asthma, physical problems or whatever they are, tell someone. They will help you! Tell all always. Don’t be embarrassed no one will ridicule you for your issues. If someone is going to make fun of you they aren’t worth being around.

Think better of yourself!” 

Boating It Forward

image28

Our Graduates are "paying it forward" creating future generations of "SAFE-SMART"Boaters Spirited Outreach; Boating it Forward, A National Youth Outreach Program.

Growing the Next Generation

image29

Our young graduates come back after their successful completion of the program to act as Jr. Volunteers and eventually, as they turn 18, instructors.  Several students have gone on to not only be instructors but also Instructor Trainers and Coordinators. Grow your team from within your community!

FAQs About SOA Programs

image30

We are often asked about the individuals who may participate in our programs:

    Any young person may apply to participate in a Spirit fo America program across the country.  Each host location offers an application process for the young people in their areas.