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From Woodbury, Come Sail Away

For a child growing up in Minnesota, sailing camp seems like an ideal summer experience.

Milan and Meg Hruby moved to Woodbury from England a little over four years ago. As newcomers, they heard a lot about Minnesota’s reputation for water sports and recreation.

They thought maybe their young son, Lukas, might enjoy boating on Minnesota’s celebrated lakes and rivers. But how and where? They didn’t know anything about water sports and didn’t own a boat.

So when they saw an advertisement for St. Croix Sailing Camp last summer, they signed Lukas up.

“We like summer camps for the variety of sports and creative-thinking experiences they offer,” says Meg Hruby.

And for a child growing up in Minnesota, sailing camp seems like an ideal summer experience.

But I had no idea that so many Woodbury kids were learning to sail just over the river at St. Croix Sailing School in Hudson, Wis. Lukas Hruby was just 7 years old when he started sailing. His mother, Meg, recently asked him what he remembered from last summer’s sailing camp.

Lukas said he liked it. He told is mother he learned water safety, how to carry and launch a sailboat, how to handle the boat on calm or strong water and to use his legs. For a now 8-year-old child to be able to articulate that much information a year after the fact says that sailing camp must have been a pretty memorable experience.

St. Croix Sailing School board member and Woodbury resident Laura Fairweather says the goal of the sailing camps is to encourage and promote junior sailing. That’s a great mission!

Since Woodbury doesn’t boast any large lakes or immediate river access like many other Minnesota cities, I for one never considered sailing camp as an option for my own children. But sailing is definitely on my radar screen now.

St. Croix Sailing School offers weeklong camps to kids ages 6-18 throughout the summer. The fees seem affordable for an all-day camp of this nature, and there is a scholarship fund for prospective sailing students that face financial hardship.

The sailing instructors use two types of boats that are small and light enough even for young boaters. They organize classes according to ability and experience. Meg Hruby says that the kids in her son’s class gathered on a large boat with the instructors for teaching. Then the children paired up in the small boats to practice their skills.

The St. Croix Sailing School website says that they even offer adult sailing lessons by appointment. Maybe some older Woodbury folks can learn a new boating trick or two.

Lukas would tell you boating is fun. He often asks his parents about boating and is looking forward to going back to St. Croix Sailing camp this summer.

If you don’t have youngsters interested in sailing but would still like to help out, go to St. Croix Sailing School’s website for information about donating money to scholarship funds, boating equipment or your time. They’re a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that welcomes any and all help offered.

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