Nautical Education

The Foundation is dedicated to providing Chicago area youth the opportunities to learn and appreciate the nautical arts throughout the year.

Sisters Under Sail

Sisters Under Sail is a nonprofit leadership program that empowers teenage girls by teaching them teamwork and responsibility through sailing. Sisters Under Sail was founded in 2005 by Dawn Parker Santamaria, and the CYCF has supported the program since 2009.

This summer the Foundation will sponsor four deserving Chicago area teens on the Tall Ship Denis Sullivan. The ship will sail for a week with all women crew from Mackinac Island to Traverse City, Michigan in July.

Young women may apply for this unique experience through an essay contest. The essays should explain why they want to participate in the Sisters Under Sail program, written in metaphors of the sea such as the tides, currents, winds, waves, and storms in the context of the challenges of life. The essays all speak to the strength, courage and hope that define these amazing young women, some who have persevered in the face of personal tragedy. Four finalists will be chosen to participate this summer.

After the trip, the participants report to the Foundation the achievements they are most proud of and how the skills learned will be transferable to life on shore. Their reports describe physical and psychological stresses of the week and how they thrived. There are few opportunities designed just to help young women build self-esteem, promote teamwork and develop leadership skills. Sisters Under Sail is among the best.

Maritime Education

Our youth education program has brought approximately 1,000 elementary and high school students from the city and suburban to the Chicago Yacht Club each year.

Groups of students may be invited to the Chicago Yacht Club for a memorable maritime-related educational program and tour of the club facilities. This has been a valuable program that not only benefits student participants, but also enhances our relations with the Chicago Public Schools and provides a venue for public access.