An excellent program that offers young children that face a spectrum of economic or health challenges to experience sailing. This offers not only the often totally new world of sailing, but the concept of working together to accomplish goals and the discipline required to reach goals in life. The concept is to present youth with the insight and potential stimulus to reach for high goals in life.
I am one of the all volunteer crew on the Pegasus, a classic 51' wooden sailboat based in Berkeley, CA. The Pegasus' main charter is to take inner city children-at-risk sailing on the San Francisco Bay. For many children it is their first time on the water and in a sailboat. Even after a thorough safety briefing some children are reluctant to board the boat or even cry once aboard but the trained crew ease their trepidations by showing them how they are tethered to the boat via their harnesses, letting them steer the boat and having them sit on the bowsprit taking in the wonders of the bay. I never tire of seeing the joy in the children's faces when they describe their favorite part of their voyage during the post cruise debriefing. Giving my time to the Pegasus project is always a fulfilling and fruitful experience.
I have been with this group for about 4 months, volunteering as crew. With each sail I learn more about the boat and test my skill as a sailor, working my way up the competency check list. The experienced crew are awesome instructors. Safety is primary for all aboard. The organization and mission is really great.
Taking students out on the Bay is so much fun! Many of them are disadvantaged, with limited resources for accessing the Bay, a major part of their environment, beyond the view from the shore. They learn about the wind, currents, ecology, and wildlife. Some of them are fearful, scared of new experiences. With the crew's support they manage to overcome the fear, learn how to prepare for the next adventure and grow to look forward to new challenges.
Pegasus is here for the long haul. We began in 1994, starting small, teaching kids and adults about marine sustainability and the beauty of the ocean...now it's 2011...10,000+ kids later, we are still hauling. We do it one kid, one voyage at a time. Like the boat, we have a great deal of directional stability. When we innovate, we search deeply for the best change, then test it until it breaks. Then we know what works, what doesn't, and where the limit is. That way, we keep everyone safe. Not one injury or parental complaint in 17 years. We invest in our volunteers, training, the best equipment, backup, procedures, evaluation, and ability to circumvent the whole command hierarchy to pose a safety issue or to file a grievance. We have loyal donors, the ballast on our keel; and in recent years, we have begun to diversify funding and revenue generation with private charters. We also leverage our capacity by offering long-term reliable volunteer crew the ability to donate voyages to other community groups, thereby raising many thousands of dollars.
I have participated and volunteered for the Pegasus Project for 11 years before I became the Professional Captain that runs the Project. I have watched thousands of children come on board and have watched many of them undergo incredible transformations. We work with a lot of dis-advantaged youth. Often this is the first time they have ever been on a boat and ever been out on the water. IT is amazing to watch their eyes open wide as the boat starts to sail under wind power alone. The ear to ear grins as they ride out on the bow sprit as the water rushs past the bow. At the clearing at the end of the sail we often hear that this is the "most fun I have ever had!".
They kids get to learn about the SF Bay and its ecology, its diverse eco systems, tidal influences, wildlife and Marine mammals. They get to watch a group of adults work together as a team. They get to confront their fears and are given an opportunity to go beyond where they want to stop. It is life altering stuff! And it is given for free. The Pegasus Project has also raised over $10,000 dollars for other non-profits by donating Sails on Pegasus to be auctioned off. Great project!!
I became involved with Pegasus when I looked for volunteer opportunity that included my love of sailing and enjoyment of serving as a volunteer. Pegasus is such a beautifully maintained sailing vessel. The Captain and crew who serve on Pegasus to take kids sailing are dedicated to being the safest sailing vessel on the San Francisco Bay. I am so privileged to be able to volunteer on such a beautiful sailboat with such a dedicated crew sharing my love of sailing with youth who enjoy the rare opportunity to be out on the water. The smiles on their faces make it so worth my time and effort.
Pegasus Voyages provides an incredible opportunity for at-risk youth to experience the beauty of sailing!!! My group had an amazing experience - that would not have been possible had it not been for Capt. Rich and his crew. We are hoping to continue to bring students to Pegasus for years go come!
Pegasus Voyages is an amazing organization! The staff is very dedicated to providing marine life educational opportunities for bay area students, as they embark on a memorable, adventurous voyage across the beautiful San Francisco Bay!
The crew members are commitment toward providing a wonderful example of fellowship and teamwork, while creating a positive experience towards furthering the students awareness of the marine life in conjunction with the signifigance of ecological sustanability of the San Francisco Bay!
Pegasus Voyages is a great non-profit project to instill the joy of sailing as well as to instill the love and appreciation of Nature to adults and children. The project organizes sailing voyages for school children and at risk children to go on the yacht to learn sailing as well as sailing trips to different places in the Bay to learn about the environment and how to protect and preserve it.
Pegasus Project is a unique program offering an opportunity for at-risk youth they'd be unlikely to otherwise have: To learn self-reliance and respect for the environment while sailing on the San Francisco Bay. The volunteers and crew are dedicated, responsible, and caring.
The Pegasus Project has reignited my passion for sailing. I attended a fund raiser at the Berkeley Yacht Club and was inspired by Captain Rich’s slide presentation – images of all these kids having a blast on the bay. Every one of them wearing a PFD and obviously having a great time. I just had to know more and go see her for myself. Now I’m a new crew volunteer on Pegasus enjoying every moment on the beautiful ketch. I’m so excited about the hands on learning with great mentors and fellow crew. I especially love watching the kids faces as they succeed in completing their deck duties. This project brings soul nourishment to so many kids who would never otherwise have the opportunity. Such great people make this project work, volunteering their time and wanting more – I do.
Excellent program to get youth out sailing who probably would never have the chance otherwise. Pegasus is an amazing wooden boat with a real story to tell. She's well maintained and safety rules the operation. As Captain Richard says, "We're trying to have the safest boat on the planet." Volunteering is run extremely well via a website scheduling system and Capt'n Richard has groomed a large group of qualified individuals. He has especially sought out women to crew and they often end up outnumbering the men on voyages; a rare occurrence in the boating world.
From the moment I approached Pegasus and her crew, I was impressed by the professionalism of everyone involved. The boat itself is kept in magnificent condition, and the conduct of her captain was superb. At no moment did I have any question about safety or conduct. The journey onto the bay was a joy, and I believe the trips organized on Pegasus are a tremendous opportunity for youth to experience a major aspect (often overlooked) of where they live. Pegasus is a tremendous community resource.
I have the pleasure of volunteering with this project, it is a very professionally run operation that takes children out sailing onto the Bay Area that would likley otherwise not get the opportunity. It is amazing to see the thrill of the children when the wind is filling the sails and blowing throught their hair. The key mission of the Pegasus Project is to enable youth to become productive members of a sustainable society through positive outdoor environmental education and by reinforcing life skills.
I would like to add that safety is taken very seriously onboard and all crew members go through a detailed safety program before being accepted.
Pegasus Voyages provides a marvelous blend of mentoring kids, serving with a team of dedicated volunteers, and sailing on a beautiful 51' ketch in San Francisco Bay. The program has recently been broadening the youth groups that it serves, and the diversity of ethnic and social backgrounds is fascinating, refreshing, and satisfying to me as a volunteer hoping to have an impact. In addition, a recent surge of new volunteers is injecting a lot of new energy and fresh faces that adds to the sense of being part of a great team and dynamic program. FInally, learning to handle a large sailboat with a team has significantly added to my sailing and teamwork skills.
Pegasus Voyages and the Pegasus Project do something rare and special in the youth outreach arena: they integrate youth and adults in the pursuit of authentic common objectives. In the course of sailing the Pegasus, the kids not only witness teamwork, they share ownership of cross-generational teamwork. This experience gets them out of the game room and into the world with invaluable social skills.
People who participate in this program are introduced to the history of the bay. They understand the importance of their actions on the fragile ecosystem of our oceans and how this translates into their daily lives. They learn about navigation and how important teamwork is to the smooth running of a ship and well as in life. Students are given a unique view of their surroundings from the bay. They experience the power of the ocean through tides and currents.
I travel more than 100 miles each way in order to volunteer on this project. THAT is how important I think the lessons learned from this experience can be.
Pegasus Voyages takes local children (including at risk youth) sailing on the SF Bay to teach them about the marine environment, about boat safety and sailing, and about themselves.