From the Society of Old Salts

This was the 20th year of operation for the Kids Setting Sail Program (KSS) hosted by the Society of Old Salts (S.O.S.). It was designed to introduce young people to sailing by means of a short ride on a Sunfish sailboat with an experienced sailor at no charge.

The program operates Sundays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. during the Chautauqua summer season. Over 40 KSS volunteers, with an age range from 14-87, worked to make this program possible.

We advertise to handle kids ages 5-10, but our age range has been 2-78. The participants in the program are very excited about riding in a Sunfish with an experienced sailor. The sailors and helpers are equally pleased to be able to volunteer their services. The parents and grandparents are the most excited of all to see their little ones out in a sailboat, many for their first time.

We did have five canceled Sundays this past summer due to weather or shortage of Lakeside staff. Lakeside Director of Recreation & Wellness Katalin Domotorffy has done an outstanding job in the operation of our program.

The KSS Program has developed into one of the most highly visible public relations programs in Lakeside. It continues to promote the entire Lakeside Sailing Center, has given many kids a chance to try sailing at an early age, and has brought a lot of joy to parents and grandparents. These children are our future sailors, and some go on to take the Lakeside Sailing Lessons after participating in the KSS Program. Although the long range revenue created by KSS for Lakeside cannot be accurately measured, the program is creating revenue. The volunteer base makes this program possible.

After announcing he was stepping down as the leader of the program, Bill Maenner had a change of heart and will remain the head of the program next season. He will get some help from Brenda Haas, who will be in charge of public relations.

“I just want to continue helping kids learn how to sail,” Maenner said.

Lakeside’s continued support of the S.O.S. and all the volunteers help make the Sailing Center and the KSS Program a success. S.O.S. and KSS say, “Thank you.”

The following statistics show the progress of the program in number of riders per year:

2003        217 riders    1st year…previous format

2004        384 riders    2nd year…previous format

2005        387 riders   11-week season…current format

2006        548 riders   10-week season

2007        573 riders   11-week season

2008        603 riders   11-week season

2009        705 riders   12-week season

2010        749 riders   12-week season

2011        855 riders   12-week season…5,031 riders to date

2012        947 riders   11-week season…5,978 riders to date

2013        836 riders   11-week season…6,814 riders to date

2014        779 riders   10-week season…7,593 riders to date

2015        467 riders   12-week season…8,060 riders to date

2016        629 riders   12-week season…8,689 riders to date

2017        460 riders   12-week season…9,149 riders to date

2018        573 riders   12-week season…9,722 riders to date

2019        393 riders   12-week season…10,115 riders to date

2020        KSS was not in operation due to COVID

2021        130 riders   12-week season…10,245 riders to date

2022        425 riders   12-week season…10,670 riders to date