BEACON, NY– Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been awarded a $20,000.00 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Weiderhold Foundation to support K-12 education and the Young Men & Young Woman at the Helm Programs.

The centerpiece of Clearwater’s education initiative is the Sailing Classroom Program for elementary, middle, high school and college students. The deck of a traditional sailing ship is a uniquely powerful platform for students to learn about the river’s natural wonder and cultural significance. For many, this is the introduction to the Hudson River and environmental education that can forge a connection with nature to last a lifetime. Students are encouraged to bring the lessons they learn on the sloop back to their communities to become stewards for the Hudson River and the environment.

Clearwater’s youth empowerment programs include: Young Woman at the Helm and Young Men at the Helm. These two programs are three-day, on-board intensive experiences. Youth are recruited through Clearwater’s relationships with high schools and community service organizations in low-income, urban areas throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond. During this three-day sailing and camping adventure in July and August, participants aged 15-18 are given rigorous instruction in sailing, environmental education and leadership development. In addition, youth challenge themselves physically; hiking and camping along the banks of the Hudson. Evenings include presentations by guest speakers and role models including community leaders and environmentalists. Youth At the Helm programs serve as a springboard for youth to take on increased responsibility as they grow in experience and mastery through Clearwater’s continuum of youth development programs.

“We are grateful to the trustees of the John T. & Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation for their support.  These Education and Youth Empowerment programs will reach over 5,600 students and youth in the next year. By learning to be environmentally aware, youth can make significant contributions to their communities to advocate for sustainable environmental practices and preservation of natural habitats” said Diane Oktay, Clearwater’s Development Director.