Elks enable kids to attend St. Augustine Yacht Club's Sail Camp


Two social organizations are joining forces to help the youth of St. Augustine. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has contributed $1,500 to assist in funding scholarships for kids wanting to learn sailing at the St. Augustine Yacht Club’s annual summer Sail Camp. Elks Exalted Ruler Joseph Smith recently presented a check to SAYC Commodore David Patrick in ceremonies at the yacht club.

Patrick said, “We are most appreciative of the Elks’ generous donation, which will allow local children, ages 5 to 17, who may not otherwise be able to afford the cost, to learn how to sail or to improve their sailing ability. We hope this is a start of a wonderful partnership between our organizations that will continue into the future for the benefit of the community’s children.”

Of the many charitable endeavors the Elks is known for, one is the support of non-budgeted projects at R.B. Hunt Elementary, spearheaded by Sara McDevitt. Fittingly, the Elks Lodge, the SAYC, and R.B. Hunt are all physically close-by neighbors on Anastasia Island, near the water’s edge. Many students from R.B. Hunt already participate in an after-school program at the St. Augustine Yacht Club. The donation, however, can assist students from any school.

The SAYC Sail Camp is in its 11th year. It incorporates the U.S. Sailing Reach curriculum, is STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) based, and a hands-on experience for children and teens to learn the sport of sailing. 

Marissa Burrier, sail director of the St. Augustine Yacht Club, said, “I truly believe that to teach a child to sail is to give them a gift for life. Sailing builds confidence while creating lifelong friendships.  Additionally, our students learn how to better care for our environment and become stewards of the sea.”

Burrier is assisted by several young adults who are U.S. Sailing certified instructors, along with volunteer instructors who are training for certification.

A native of St. Augustine, Burrier was a college athlete and is a trained educator, avid sailor and race coach.

All Sail Camp program information, including costs, availability and registration can be found at saycsc.org.