Almost a birthright for children growing up in Long Beach, the youth in the Aquatic Capitol of America is learning to swim and sail. This summer, families have many learning options for those just getting their feet wet in water sports to those ready to develop some new more advanced skills.
Long Beach offers a variety of programs that teach swimming, sailing or a combination of various water sports. Most are offered in a day camp format at local yacht clubs, scout bases, and city facilities. The programs are affordable and many offer camperships, for more details on any of the opportunities listed below refer to the respective organization’s website.
Belmont Junior Beach Camp for ages 5-7, Bayshore Beach Camp for ages 8-12, and the Bay Club Teen Camp for ages 13-15 are based out of the city’s own Leeway Sailing Club, located on Alamitos Bay.
They offer American Red Cross swim lessons at no extra charge to those enrolled in those summer day camps that also include weekly canoeing and sailing instruction. The one-week sessions run all summer and cost $155 per week, with extended day care available.
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Summer Program is open to individuals 6–18 years old and the programs cost between $700 for sabot beginners to $1,050 for the Advanced Race team.
They offer single-handed classes and double-handed classes from beginner sailor to advanced racer as well as an Intro to Sailing class for those 6-7.
Participants do not need to be a member of ABYC to participate. Learning basic sailing skills is supplemented with other activities like sailing scavenger hunts and sail making.
Their summer program — for the first year — is the only one in the area that is all day for all sailors.
“The all day program will ideally keep kids on the water and get them to enjoy it more,” Allie Bleacher, who directs the juniors program at ABYC said. “ABYC’s goal is to get kids hooked on life around sailing. Not necessarily eliminating other sports that happen on or near the water but just to get them to respect the sport enough to continue sailing for the rest of their lives because that’s what makes sailing unique. It’s a sport for the generations.”
ABYC has 11 coaches on staff this summer, all are U.S. Sailing Level 1 certified or higher. Most of the coaches are active college sailors across the country, and some grew up in Long Beach.
The Seal Beach Yacht Club is again offering beginning and intermediate classes in both sabots and lasers. Students will learn sailing skills, self-confidence and sportsmanship. Those in the junior sailor program have the opportunity to participate in local regattas, with a focus on having a fun and safe sailing experience rather than on building a competitive racing team.
“We want our juniors to love sailing as much as we do, and many of them come back year after year,” Chairman Walt Simmons said. “Students enrolled in the program can use our club boats, and their parents will be welcomed as guests at the yacht club.”
Beginning sabot classes are taught in the morning at SLBYC, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Intermediate sabot and laser classes are taught in the afternoon from 1 to 5. Students should be at least 8 years old by this summer.
The cost, for non-members, is $500, and this includes the use of the boat. The head coach this year will be Karl Rollert, who has 10 years of sailing experience in the Seal Beach Yacht Club Juniors Program and is certified by U.S. Sailing as a Level 1 Instructor. Karl and all of their instructors have current CPR and First Aid certifications.
Boy Scouting professional Marc Bonner is excited about new items this year at the Long Beach Scout Base Aquatic Center on Appian Way, including intermediate sailing classes and a stand up paddle boarding class. This is the 14th year the base has offered a day camp for scouts, and it is the first year Cub Scout activities are offered. The fee is $170 per week with extended daycare available.
Nearby, Girl Scouts’ Marine Landing is located on Alamitos Bay. Their day camp activities include kayaking, canoeing, sailing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, beach play and observing marine life. Open to all girls in grades 1-8, camp sessions average about $35-$45 per day. The camp staff is all Lifeguard/First Aid/CPR certified and financial aid and extended day options are available.
Marine Institute Ocean Adventure Camp summer program offers an Ocean Adventure Camp with a $197 per week fee plus extended day care. This camp is open to youngsters ages 5-12 and although they don’t teach swimming or sailing, in each session, campers will get a hands-on look at marine invertebrates collected on excursions aboard the R/V Challenger.