The Community Sailing Center Featured on CBS Morning Show For Efforts in Diversity and Inclusion

[Burlington, VT – July 26, 2022] 

In 2021 the Community Sailing Center launched its newest signature program, the Sailing Diversity Access Initiative, one that has received national attention. This initiative was borne out of the obligation and desire to foster a new generation of sailors to create a community that represents everyone on Lake Champlain, overcoming racial and socioeconomic barriers to the sport. The program offers children who identify as BIPOC between the ages of 11-15 a fully funded summer camp experience of up to 4 weeks, and the ability to return for up to 4 years or until they are of age to become a Junior Instructor! This programming is the first step in an effort to overcome racial and socioeconomic barriers to the sport of sailing, and the Community Sailing Center has made this 4 year commitment to ensure that these children can sail for life, not just for the summer. This program opens 40 new camp weeks each year, in its first year the Community Sailing Center (CSC) saw 17 young BIPOC campers join the program, more than tripling the amount of BIPOC participation in the program’s first year running. CSC is well underway with the second year of this program and we are thrilled to say that the the number of participants has nearly doubled, with 28 BIPOC youth in the program this year. This programming is part of a long-term commitment by CSC to continue the work of inclusion in a sport that has historically left many people on shore.

After its first year CSC won the US Sailing Award for Inclusivity, and shortly afterwards was in contact with the CBS Morning Show to coordinate a segment on the programming and the impact on the families and children that participate. In late April the CBS Morning Show confirmed that they wanted to do a segment on the work happening at the Community Sailing Center, and in late June an entire film crew came on site from all across the country to speak to campers in the program and share their stories. 

From this national platform CSC hopes to inspire other Community Sailing Centers to create programming that encourages and fosters the inclusivity that is so needed in the sport. The Community Sailing Center is dedicated to making sure every child gets a chance to have their hand on the tiller, if you would like to donate to support this initiative please hit “Donate” today in the upper right hand corner of your screen! CSC is very excited to announce that thanks to the Waterwheel Foundation, the Diversity Access Initiative will be expanded to include Middle School and High School racing for BIPOC students starting this Fall! This creates much needed and expanded access on a program that will only continue to grow. 

This programming would not be possible without the outpouring of support that CSC has received from the community, including Outdoor Gear Exchange, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, VOREC, Mascoma, The Waterwheel Foundation, The Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation, Lawson’s Sunshine Fund, the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust and many more. 

Community Sailing Center Receives US Sailing Jim Kilroy Outstanding Inclusion and Outreach Award for Diversity Access Initiative

[Burlington, VT – February 11, 2022] CSC is proud to accept the US Sailing Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion Award, one given annually to recognize programs that have made notable contributions to promote inclusivity within the sport of sailing.

In the Spring of 2021 the Community Sailing Center (CSC) launched the Sailing Diversity Access Initiative, a program designed to increase access to lake-based recreation for children who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). This program is an overlay to CSC youth camps, where annually over 450 children sail, paddle, and explore on Lake Champlain. The program grew out of the CSC’s  2020 strategic plans around dismantling systemic racism. Recognizing the historic barriers to sailing faced by people of color, board and staff created the Sailing Diversity Access Initiative. CSC sought guidance from BIPOC-led community organizations as a way to help ensure that the program would truly serve underrepresented populations, working closely with Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office’s Trusted Community Voices in building the program’s foundation.

With Trusted Community Voices as a guide, CSC crafted a multi-year, fully funded pathway as a way to inspire a lifelong love for sailing. The initiative offers campers, aged 11-15, up to 4 weeks of camp each summer for 4 years along with before- and after-care and transportation assistance. CSC aims to provide camp access to at least 50 children over the next four years,  providing a progression of  camp experiences to those who decide to continue their growth as sailors. This program takes campers on a direct path to sailing instructor positions if they so choose; at age 16 campers can become junior instructors, and at 18 can become certified instructors through US Sailing, the sport’s governing entity.

In efforts to maximize outreach and minimize language barriers CSC worked with local organizations to have the program information translated into 7 different languages, a number that the organization expects to grow. This initiative creates a new pathway for BIPOC children in our community to engage with Lake Champlain, and it is one that CSC hopes over time will change the face of sailing. 

In 2021, CSC saw 17 children register for a total of 39 camp-weeks, nearly 98% capacity. Follow-up surveys indicate excitement by campers to return for 2022, as well as interest by siblings and other family members. In 2022 CSC will reserve spots for all 2021 Diversity Access campers who wish to return, and offer another 40 camp-weeks to additional members of the BIPOC community. As of this writing, over 50% of 2021 campershave re-enrolled for 2022.

CSC is the only non-profit Sailing Center on Lake Champlain and as such uses sailing to foster stewardship, leadership, and resilience. To ensure success for diverse youth, CSC’s board has made a long-term commitment to examine all current programming through the lens of racial and economic equity. 

From a parent of a camper last year:

“It was a beautiful opportunity. We go to the beaches a lot but we hadn’t spent much time out on the lake. My daughter liked everything about sailing camp. It was great for her. She did the yoga camp and some of the day was in the room, and some was outside and it was all great for her. She didn’t do a lot of camp this summer and I think she really appreciated the social time and seeing other kids. Whether it was doing stuff in the class or being out on the water she was super excited to get up and go every day. She loved her class, and her counselors did a great job. She was just so happy to go every day.

The transportation assistance is awesome to eliminate barriers and super helpful and very important. I think for a lot of the kids’ programs, whatever the sport or co-curricular activities are, transportation is a huge barrier. We really appreciate your efforts on that front. I think it’s awesome that you all are making it sustainable and long term. We’d like them to continue to develop the skills and stay connected to the program.” – Melodie’s Dad


Support for this initiative was generously provided by the George W. Mergens Foundation, VSECU, the Waterwheel Foundation, Vermont Afterschool, and the Outdoor Gear Exchange Foundation. CSC also sends a huge thank you to Ned Castle of Frames to Life Productions for capturing CSC’s acceptance of such a prestigious award. 

Ned Castle / Frames to Life Productions / www.framestolife.com




About the Community Sailing Center:

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center is a community based 501(c) (3) organization with a mission to encourage and celebrate responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain by fostering educational and recreational opportunities for all members of our community, regardless of age, gender, race, physical ability, or financial means. . For more information, please contact Jessica Chadwell at 802-864-2499 or jessica@communitysailingcenter.org

Milton Independent – MAPPED: 6 places to rent kayaks, paddleboards in northwest Vermont

July 6, 2021 | Carolina De Buy Wenniger

What better way to beat the summer heat than to spend it on the water?

Whether it be soaking up the views on Lake Champlain or happily paddling down a scenic river, here are 6 outfitters to meet your rental boat needs…..

Community Sailing Center

The Community Sailing Center right on Lake Champlain has sailboats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards available for rent, but with limited availability according to their phased plan. This plan has three phases throughout the summer.

Phase 1 from June 19-July 9 only allows rentals from season pass holders with reservations required, available only on weekends.

Phase 2 from July 12-Aug. 1 also only allows season pass holders with reservations required, but they are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Phase 3 from Aug. 2-Sept. 6 allows drop-in and pass rentals, open seven days a week 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

[Read More]

Burlington Free Press – Summer is here: Time to boat, swim and explore in Chittenden County

June 21, 2021 | Nora Peachin

Summer has officially begun. Looking to spend some time on the water this season? Check out these spots around Chittenden County for kayak, paddleboard, canoe and sailing rentals and lessons….

For those looking to get out on Lake Champlain, the Community Sailing Center in Burlington is a great option. The center offers sailing lessons for both adults and children, floating yoga classes, kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals.

[Read More]

WCAX3 – Pandemic-funded kids programs gear up for summer fun

June 11, 2021 | Olivia Lyons

RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) – About 100 camps across the state are receiving state funds through the Summer Matters program, which aims to help children recover from the pandemic. Olivia Lyons, spoke with grant recipients to discuss how this opens opportunities for kids.

Officials say programming through the Summer Matters initiative is a way for kids to reengage and also learn about themselves and their interests.

“Hopefully insight. Not only a passion for one year but a passion that might extend for the rest of their lives,” said Bianca Roa with the Community Sailing Center in Burlington, one of the organizations participating in the program. With grant funding, the center is offering up to four weeks of free sailing camp to those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color. “As soon as we put it out to the community, it filled, and we cannot wait to have what is likely our most diverse camp year ever.”

[Read More]

Burlington Free Press – Ahoy! Classes, rentals re-launch at Burlington’s waterfront sailing center

May 10, 2021 | Joel Banner Baird

With new precautions in place, and after a sharply curtailed 2020 season, sailors and paddlers of all ages and skill levels can once again converge at the Community Sailing Center in Burlington.

phased re-opening this year, in accordance with COVID precautions, was announced Friday by the organization.

For another few days, the action is only open to high school racing teams, the nonprofit reported.

An armada of campers from the Community Sailing Center catch the wind off Burlington Bay.

Sailing camps and “floating classrooms” begin this week; the introductory “First Sails” program casts off in mid-June.

Adult group activities and courses will gradually be re-introduced over the summer, catching a full wind by July 12.

Schedules and programing follow (or exceed) current state health guidelines, and are subject to changes, the center noted: Folks are encouraged to check its website for updates.

Camper attend a sailing class on a keelboat.

Among the new rules:

  • Pick-ups and drop-offs will be staggered; plan accordingly.
  • Everyone must wear a mask, all the time, through June 18.
  • All adults must wear masks through July 11.

[Read More]

CSC – 2021 Summer Phase Plan

The CSC is excited to that this year we will be able to host programs for folks of ALL ages! In order to operate safely, we are reopening our programs in phases. We are committed to maintaining safe opportunities for our community, and will continue to update this page as more information is made available.

Our plan is designed in accordance with the State’s recommendations and the timeline of restrictions being lifted. It is subject to change depending on the number of cases in our community, the safety of our staff/participants, and the level of demand. Our team continues to closely monitor the following state or federal health agencies. 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via 802.864.2499 or info@communitysailingcenter.org.

RENTALS & SEASON PASSES: Updated May 7, 2021

The CSC is excited to reopen our boat rental program for summer 2021. Sailboats, kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards rentals will be available at a limited capacity according to our Phased Plan. Currently season pass holders have exclusive access to the boat rental program. 

UPDATED INFORMATION: We have amended the plan as the State and Burlington have opened up, and we are jumping right to Phase 3 on Monday, July 12th.

During our Phase 1, boat rentals will be for Season Pass holders only, giving them exclusive access to the boat rental program! All rentals during these Phases will be by reservation only, ensuring a fair and safe process for access to the lake.

Drop-in hourly rentals for the general public will resume in Phase 3 starting on July 12th. Season Passes will be available for use during all of our Phases, including weekends in our Fall Season.

Check out our Rentals & Season Passes for more information on purchasing passes, hours of availability, reservation, safety measures, and pricing.

ADULT PROGRAMS: Updated May 7, 2021

A limited number of adult courses and clinics will be offered this summer. During Phase 1 starting June 19th, they will be offered on weekends. After the CSC moves into Phase 2 on July 12th, programs will be available on select weekdays and weekends.

Sign up for our newsletter HERE!

YOUTH PROGRAMS: Updated May 7, 2021

The CSC will be once again offering summer camps this summer! We are currently abiding by the State of Vermont’s protocols for safety measures relating to these programs, so our operations prioritizes both a fun and safe environment for our kids. Most of our camps are currently full and have waiting lists. Offerings are available on our website, but please note that we are currently only accepting information to our wait list. There is no guarantee that addition to the list will result in acceptance to the program.




  • What safety measures are you using to prevent the spread of COVID?

The CSC is committed to following the safety protocols as defined by the Department of Health. This includes but is not limited to staggered pick-up and drop-off for families, daily health screenings and contact tracing. Rigorous full facilities clean once a week, and will increase the frequency based on the recommendations of the state.


  • What is your mask policy?

Our mask policy is based on the recommendations of the State of Vermont and the Department of Health. The mask policy will follow the phased plan.

Phase 0.5: Mask for all participants at all times.

Phase 1: Mask always for adults. Children are required to wear the masks indoors or on the dock unless on water.

Phase 2: Masks encouraged.

Phase 3: Masks encouraged.


  • The state policy changes “masks encouraged” after July 4th.  Why doesn’t the CSC phase match up with the state’s plan?

Our current plan is intentionally designed for our organization to be cautious, but assured in the transitions between phases. The week between the state’s mandate change and the CSC’s is for not only our staff’s safety but also our participants.


  • What should I do in the event a participant or someone in their household gets sick?

If a camper or participant becomes ill for any reason during the hours of their program, the individual will be sent home as soon as possible. The parent or guardian of all youth participants will be contacted immediately. During the time the sick individual remains at the CSC, they will be kept away from other campers to avoid spread of the contagion. We ask that any participants exposed to a sick individual, please notify the CSC as soon as possible.


  • Will scholarships be made available for families who cannot afford the full cost? 

At present, the Community Sailing Center is exploring grants from state, municipal and private sources to help fund the significant increased costs of running camps within the new DCF guidelines. Our plan is to use existing financial resources to absorb these expenses and not pass them on to families, thus maintaining the current prices for camp.  Should the Community Sailing Center be successful in our efforts to receive funding, we will do everything possible to meet demand for scholarship support. Do not hesitate to ask for financial assistance if you need it. We are hard at work to try and help. 


  • What is your refund policy?

Please give us 30 days’ notice in order to secure a refund (excluding $100 non-refundable deposit) and open your space to another sailor. No refunds or credits will be issued within one month of any program. Tuition fees less $100 will be refunded with an approved medical excuse. The Community Sailing Center reserves the right to cancel programs with insufficient registration, safety or health concerns. In the event that occurs, the CSC provides refunds to all impacted participants. 


If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via 802.864.2499 or info@communitysailingcenter.org.


CSC – Introducing the Sailing Diversity Access (SDA) Scholarship

Starting in 2021, we are excited to announce this initiative to provide 10 campers between 11-15 who identify as BIPOC  a 100% fully paid and supported summer camp experience of up to 4 weeks.  Through this initiative we aim to create new summer opportunities and recreation options for kids who come from diverse communities and families.  

Importantly, this opportunity does not end after this summer!  The Community Sailing Center promises to provide full scholarship support participants over the next 4 years who decide to continue their growth as sailors. This pathway goes from learning to sail, to racing in high school, to becoming a junior instructor.

The Community Sailing Center is a community-based nonprofit organization providing access, education, and recreation on Lake Champlain for almost 8,000 people annually. We engage our community with the lake through a wide range of educational and recreational programs that extend an open invitation to everyone regardless of age, gender, race, physical ability, or the means to pay. You can learn more about our Commitment to Change.

Translated information is available below:

Arabic | French | Nepali | Somali | Swahili | Vietnamese

If you are interested in registering or have any additional questions, mention the “Sailing Diversity Access Scholarship” and feel free to call 802-864-2499 or email info@communitysailingcenter.org.

2021 Program Overview:

Sailing Diversity Access Scholarship is for children ages 11-15 to participate in summer camps during the 2021 season.  Our summer camps are designed to teach kids the safety, skill, and joy involved in the life-long sport of sailing. The multi week program will include both sailing-only and multi-activity camps that blend sailing and other fun on-water activities.  Camp runs Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  

SDA Scholarship recipients will be awarded: 

  • Two to four weeks of Level 1 and/or Lake Adventure programming this summer completely cost free
  • Availability for early drop-off (before 9:00 am) and late pick-up (after 4:00 pm)
  • Up to $120 in transportation stipends to support all participants travel to and from our facility

Level 1 class description: Campers will learn the basics of rigging, points of sail, sailing maneuvers, safety and recovery in a safe, fun environment. Certified instructors lead a variety of land- and water-based activities designed to promote comfort and independence in the boat.

Lake Adventures class description: This camp is designed for adventurers who love to play on the lake. We will explore Lake Champlain to the fullest from a variety of watercraft, including canoe/kayak excursions out to Lone Rock Point, paddle boarding to North Beach, and sailing adventures around Burlington Bay. 

Early Summer: Late June – Late July Late July – Late August August Only
June 21 to June 25, Level 1 June 28 to July 2, Lake Adventure July 26 to July 30, Lake Adventure August 2 to August 6, Level 1
June 28 to July 2, Lake Adventure July 5 to July 9, Level 1 August 2 to August 6, Level 1 August 9 to August 13, Lake Adventure
July 5 to July 9, Level 1 July 12 to July 16, Lake Adventure August 9 to August 13, Lake Adventure August 16 to August 20, Level 1
July 12 to July 16, Lake Adventure July 19 to July 23, Level 1 August 16 to August 20, Level 1 August 23 to August 27, Lake Adventure



Why is the CSC offering this program? 

The CSC knows that Lake Champlain is one of our area’s greatest resources, but we recognize that both access to sailing and summer camps is a privilege not available to all families. In order to make a lasting change towards providing lake access and life lessons for all, our organization made a long term commitment to ensure that our staff, board and daily participants include different perspectives and voices. This is just one of many opportunities and outreach the CSC is making for the diverse youth and families in our community. If you’d like to hear more about our other efforts, you can read our Commitment to Change.

Why is the Sailing Diversity Access Scholarship program requiring multiple weeks of camp? Why is the scholarship offered for the following four years?

Sailing is an exciting and transformative sport, but does require practice in order to hone one’s skills. If participants are newer to the sport, we want to set them up for success to continue sailing. The goal is to not only provide individuals an introduction to sailing, but to also to encourage long term diversity in the future of sailing through our upper level courses, performance sailing, and junior instructor programs.

How do I sign up? 

Participants must call 802-864-2499 or email info@communitysailingcenter.org to register, as spots are limited and cannot be found on our online registration system. Participants may sign up for up to 4 weeks. 

How can I get the transportation stipend?

The transportation stipend will be dispersed to participants via check, according to the number of weeks that they apply for. 4 weeks = $120, 3 weeks = $90, 2 weeks = $60

What camps are available?

Scholarship recipients can take advantage of our Level 1 or Lake Adventure camps. If applicants are unsure of the best fit for their child, our staff is available to discuss the options that suit their needs and interests. Descriptions of the camps are below:

  • Level 1 class description: Campers will learn the basics of rigging, points of sail, sailing maneuvers, safety and recovery in a safe, fun environment. Certified instructors lead a variety of land- and water-based activities designed to promote comfort and independence in the boat.
  • Lake Adventure class description: This camp is designed for adventurers who love to play on the lake. We will explore Lake Champlain to the fullest from a variety of watercraft, including canoe/kayak excursions out to Lone Rock Point, paddleboarding to North Beach, and sailing adventures around Burlington Bay. 

Do I have to sign up for all 4 weeks? 

No, you do not need to sign up for all 4 weeks. You can sign up for 1, 2, 3 or 4 – whichever fits you and your campers’ schedule. 

Does the scholarship cover Early Drop Off and/or Late Pick Up? 

Yes, participants may also apply the scholarship to extended day options. 

NBC5 – Our Sports, Your Story: Learning by Sailing on the Lake

In order to comply with state orders, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center had to choose to either open up their rental services to the community, or to continue their tradition of educating kids on sailing.


Since the first Olympics in 1896, athletes from around the globe have competed in sailing. However, at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center this summer, the word competition is not even on the deck.

“Sailing camp helps focus on what thing I actually need to focus on,” camper Uli Amelia Dougherty-Mase said.

“Sailing is just one of the best things that I’ve been doing,” Benjamin Edwards said.

“I like going by ourselves,” 8-year-old camper Olivia Challenger said.

“Just like having fun and being out on the lake,” fellow 8-year-old camper Lina Wissedietrich said.

In order to comply with state orders, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center had to choose to either open up their rental services to the community, or to continue their tradition of educating kids on sailing. They chose the future of the sport.

[Read More]

NECN – Sail With Purpose: Vt. Nonprofit Has New Way to Raise Awareness of ‘Hitchhikers’

By Jack Thurston | Published August 25, 2020

Advocates for Lake Champlain hope an eye-catching new message reminds boaters to take steps to block invasive plants or animals from spreading between waterways

With the COVID-19 pandemic creating rises in both staycations and in physically distanced outdoor activities like boating, environmental advocates are renewing a call to protect lakes, ponds and other waterways in Vermont and the rest of New England from potential threats.

Boaters, whether launching into Lake Champlain or pulling back to land, have long been mindful of “hitchhikers.” Those include invasive plants, like the curly-leaf pondweed, or tiny animals, like the banded mystery snail, the vessels could’ve unintentionally picked up, putting the next waterway they visit at risk of infestation.

“Caring about where you live is a big part of it,” Colchester resident Taylor Bean said of boating. “The lake, the environment — you want to take care of it.”

The Lake Champlain Basin Program wants to keep awareness high by raising a new sail on a boat that’ll be in heavy use for the remainder of the season and in future years. It has a message on it: “Stop aquatic hitchhikers.”

The sail will head onto the lake from the Community Sailing Center in Burlington, which expects the eye-catching design by local artist Nikki Laxar to really spark curiosity in that message.

“Asking questions is the first step to learning more and caring more, and that’s the hope,” said Bianca Roa of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.

The Lake Champlain Basin Program said that, based on its tallies at inspection stations around the lake, use appears up this summer. The theory is that staycationers or short-drive visitors are embracing boating as a way to have fun while staying physically distant during the pandemic.

The program said that, this season, it has inspected roughly 15,000 boats at inspection stations looking for aquatic hitchhikers, compared to approximately 10,000 in most summers.

The group wants those folks to remember to always clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment before going between any waterways, and to also check things like their dogs’ life vests.

Additionally, the nonprofit wants people to never dump the contents of their home aquariums into the lake or water sources that feed into it.

Following these recommendations could well keep pests out of local ecosystems, and protect recreation-based economies as well.

“I think that it is really important, even if you’re not from Vermont, to understand and respect all the bodies of water that you encounter during your travels,” Laxar told NECN and NBC10 Boston.

“We do care deeply about all water across the northeast, and the country and the world, for that matter,” added Meg Modley of the Lake Champlain Basin Program. “And we really want to prevent the spread and the introduction of invasive species.”

Modley is optimistic the eye-catching sail will help remind boaters to take simple steps to protect waterways they visit.