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New Youth Sailing Program Ready to Launch in Boise

Southern Idaho Sailing Outreach (SISO), in partnership with both Boise City and Idaho Departments of Parks and Recreation is launching a new program to introduce kids to sailing. Plans are underway to start sailing camps this summer at Spring Shores Marina in Lucky Peak State Park, and a fundraising campaign is in progress to make this happen.

SISO is an offshoot of the Southern Idaho Sailing Association (SISA), an organization of avid sailing families that has been promoting the sport with regattas, cruises, introduction to sailing days and social events for the last 50 years. The organization saw the need for local sailing instruction and created SISO for that purpose. The program will provide Idaho families with an easy and affordable way to learn to sail in their own backyard.

"The sport of sailing offers a unique experience for kids who haven’t found a place in traditional team sports," said Peter Palmer, the Commodore of SISA, and Co-Chair of SISO. "Sailing provides opportunities that foster self-reliance, builds decision-making skills, critical thinking, curiosity, confidence and provides for a lifetime of adventure," To prepare for the start of the program, Boise Parks and Recreation is partnering with SISO and US Sailing to certify sailing instructors. In addition, SISO is in the final push to secure funding to make the program happen this summer.

"Who would have ever guessed that we'd be offering sailing camps in Boise, Idaho," said Marie Hattaway, community partnerships and youth recreation manager with the City of Boise. "Not only is sailing a fun, unique and healthy activity, it unplugs us from our devices, connects us with our natural resources and teaches the science of wind and physics while we do it."

With substantial city and community support, the program has a lot of wind in its sails. Over the last two years, SISO has partnered with Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and Ada County to prepare the infrastructure at Lucky Peak State Park. Through successful grant applications and support from Ada County Parks and Waterways, over fifty low profile docks have been put in place at Spring Shores Marina for use by small non-motorized water craft.

"Our agency's main priority is to enrich the quality of life in Idaho by providing new and unique ways to recreate outdoors," said David Langhorst, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation director. "We fully support partnerships that meet the needs of our state's growing population and ever-changing recreational interests. The sailing program proposed by SISO does just that by offering a unique, close-to-home opportunity for people to learn and perfect their sailing skills."

With this infrastructure in place, the next focus is on recruitment and training of certified sailing instructors, fundraising, and the purchase of a fleet of sailboats to be used for sailing classes. So far $120,000 has been raised, and an additional $300,000 is needed to fully fund the program. SISO has secured a $25,000 matching grant from the W.H. Moore Company, and is looking to leverage those funds. SISO is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax-exempt to the full extent of the law.

A local Learn to Sail Program will open up a lifetime sport for youth and the world of sailing in Idaho, with its hundreds of lakes and reservoirs. Boise Parks and Recreation will offer scholarships for underserved youth, making what was once considered an elitist sport truly available to everyone. To learn more about sailing education in Idaho and help support this community effort, visit the Sponsorship Opportunity Page on SISO's website at

Southern Idaho Sailing Outreach (SISO)
Pete Zimowsky, (208) 861-5541
Peter Palmer (208) 867-9113
Steve Christiansen (208) 830-2443