BBSF-Bellport Bay Sailing Foundation
Bellport Bay is a protected lagoon separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a barrier island, Fire Island. The Bellport Bay Sailing Foundation (BBSF) offers sailing programs to support children in their sailing learning activities and the Foundation relies heavily on the contribution and work of volunteers. Just check out following impression of what sailing in Bellport is all about. Though the images are somewhat outdated, they give you a nice idea of what it involves:
Parents help the BBSF in many ways through the parent of the day program, by organizing social events, and helping in some of the other volunteer needs that the Foundation has. BBSF also works closely with the Bellport Bay Yacht Club to introduce adults to sailing. Volunteering is a great way to get introduced to new people and to a great outdoor activity.
The Foundation’s efforts are not confined to sailing activities – the organization is interested in developing an environmental and history program that is centered on Bellport Bay and its main attractions. You don’t have to be a member of the BBYC to be a supporter and volunteer. However, yacht club membership does make sense if you have a fundamental interest in sailing.
There are lots of opportunities at the BBSF. Running the Bellport Bay Sailing Foundation is like running a business. The Foundation provides a service. There is equipment, marketing, personnel, educational, planning, finance, maintenance, social activities and fundraising to deal with. The bottom line is that the Foundation needs all the help it can get.
When visiting Bellport, you should absolutely check out the Bellport Exchange Shop, also referred to as Bellport’s “Barn Museum Shop”. The Exchange Shop, operated by the Bellport-Brookhaven’s Historical Society, is a great place to meet locals. The friendliness and vibe of the village can best be felt here.
The BBSF could not sustain its efforts without the support from our sailing community, the parents of our sailors, and those in the community who are interested in their mission. Many of the volunteers wish to give back to an activity that has meant so much to them. They believe in the Foundation’s purpose – some just like boats.
Below are listed just a few of the volunteer jobs that are being undertaken at the BBSF. You too can help. Contact the Foundation, tell them your interest and what you might be able to do or just say you would like to help.
- Sailing Programs: Particularly the development of the adult part of the sailing program. Some have volunteered to take adults out in different type boats as part of an adult sailing program. See also how Bellport celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a great parade!
- Race Management: Helping to run races (willingness to help and learn – The Foundation has successfully paired parents up with some experienced volunteers to help run races for youth on a Club level.
- Maintenance: Boats, equipment and related items require a huge amount of maintenance. Although the Foundation likes to support some of this maintenance through fundraising – volunteer help is likely to remain a core ingredient. The Foundation would like to match your skills and interest to their needs. Sanding, fiberglassing, painting lifting, transporting, rigging, etc. cover a wide range of effort. During the season, they need adults to be available to help instructors with maintenance items. They have found that there is a lot of running around that is necessary during the season to get parts from time to time. Taking a team approach to this can really be an advantage. Instructors cannot do this alone! Be part of the BBSF maintenance team! It is a great crew!
- Parent of the Day: BBSF’s sailing program instituted a Parent of the Day program. These parents help out during the morning activities at the Club. A full description of this is found on the BBSFD website and you can tell them if you are interested at registration.
- Social Activities: Social programs are key. BBSF makes activities fun for children. Last year, the Wednesday night series for Optimists was very successful because racing was combined with dinners and other activities. Developing content and making programs fun – helping with social activities is key – energy and ideas needed! To learn more about Bellport, check out this interview with a remarkable lady, Emily Ferrier Czaja, a Bellport artist who knows all about Bellport and the surrounding area.
- Environmental Program: Help the Foundation develop ideas and curriculum related to Bellport Bay. A willingness to assist is key and it’s also good to notice that the BBST has close ties with the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society to contribute to the preservation of Bellport’s heritage.
- Fund Raising: BBSF’s programs need money to sustain them. The Foundation manages its programs to generate cash flow to cover operating expenses but they depend on fundraising for capital investment in boats and major maintenance items such as sails, motors, and other equipment items. There are also a number of educational initiatives related to sailing program management and instructor training. The Foundation cannot undertake these initiatives without financial backing.