STONINGTON, CT. New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) received the Jim Kilroy Outreach and Inclusion Award for its 2018 achievements. US Sailing is the governing body for the sport of sailing in the United States, and its Community Sailing Committee promotes and supports community sailing across the country. US Sailing’s Community Sailing awards recognize organizations and individuals who are committed to promoting public access to sailing. The award was presented at the National Sailing Programs Symposium held January 31 through February 2, 2019 in Jacksonville, FL.
NESS, a nationally-recognized and award-winning ocean adventure STEM education nonprofit, provides students from all walks of life with year-round programming that includes marine science, sailing, powerboating, and adventure sports. For 16 years, NESS has offered community sailing programs to the public. Since its formation, NESS has been steadfast in delivering on their four core values: inclusiveness, experiential learning, personal growth and stewardship. NESS served 9,000 students in 2018 across New England with over 50% of their students receiving some form of financial aid. Since its inception, NESS has enabled over 35,000 students to get on the water.
As an organization, NESS was awarded US Sailing’s Jim Kilroy Outreach and Inclusion Award in recognition of its outstanding work to introduce sailing and provide access to the sport to students from all backgrounds and walks of life throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. As described on the US Sailing website, the award “is given annually to a Program Director or Program that has made notable contributions to promote public access to sailing by finding and including people in their program that would normally have no access to sailing.”
While NESS’s mission centers on inclusiveness across all their programs, the most obvious and compelling examples are NESS’s New London Community Boating (NLCB) program and its adaptive sailing program. The NLCB program is a part of NESS’s larger New London Initiative and exemplifies NESS’s drive for community outreach and inclusion. NLCB operates year-round alongside and inside the New London Public Schools (NLPS) with the NESS SEA AmeriCorps Program. The sailing program at NLCB is now a part of the public-school system, which provides access for these students to the marine environment in their own backyard.
NESS’s adaptive sailing program began in 2017 and brings the fun and therapeutic qualities of sailing to individuals with diverse needs. The program’s teaching methods and specialized equipment supports students with a variety of cognitive and/or physical disabilities aboard the adaptive designed Independence 20 sailboat.
Of the award, NESS’s President, Founder, and CEO, Spike Lobdell, said:
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from US Sailing. NESS is passionate about getting students on the water learning and developing valuable life skills while at the same time having fun. We are making a difference in student’s lives.”