The goal of the Hoofer Sailing Outreach program is to expand sailing beyond its traditional constituency to include disadvantaged youths from our community.

Our outreach coordinators work with staff from local agencies that support underprivileged young people. We arrange for participants to join seasoned instructors on our sailboats to learn and practice introductory sailing skills.

Participants will learn the three S's of the Hoofer Sailing Club:

  1. Safety, including the proper use of a PFD or "Personal Flotation Device" (aka "life vest")
  2. Stewardship, including taking care of all equipment as well as the lake and lakeshore.
  3. Sailing: participants will get the opportunity to sail the boat, controlling its direction and speed, and turning it with the help of the wind

They will also learn the importance of communicating and coordinating as a team, as well as the terminology sailors use for this purpose. Last but not least, they will experience the pleasure of being out on Lake Mendota and seeing Madison and University landmarks from its waters.


Because every agency is different, exact details are worked out on an agency-by-agency basis. There are no hard and fast rules, but some general guidelines are:

  • Ages 10-16
  • About as many girls as boys
  • Demonstrable need (for example, qualify for free or reduced lunch)
  • No active addictions or violent behaviors
  • Able to respect authority and follow directions
  • The ability to swim is *not* a prerequisite because everyone will be required to wear a PFD (aka “life vest”)
  • Sponsoring agency arranges transportation
  • We strongly encourage agency leaders and staff to participate too, up to 1 leader per 4 youths
  • All participants and/or parents or guardians must sign waivers
  • There are no fees for this program

For more information, or to arrange a session for your agency, please contact us at outreach@hoofersailing.org