The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center - Mascoma Bank

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center

author imagePosted by Mascoma Bank on June 28, 2023

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC) is a community-based nonprofit organization that provides access, education, and recreation on Lake Champlain for almost 8,000 people every year.

The organization’s mission is to encourage and celebrate the responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain by fostering educational and recreational opportunities for all members of our community.

CSC provides sailing and kayaking opportunities and recently partnered with the YMCA to offer yoga classes on the waterfront. Other popular programs include WAVES, Women in Wind, and Floating Classrooms, a yearlong program for local elementary students who visit the CSC facility in warmer months for hands-on learning about local ecology and STEM topics. During the winter, CSC staff members go to the schools to keep the learning going.

The sport of sailing is not known to attract a diverse group of enthusiasts, and CSC is working to change this stereotype through its sailing and diversity access initiative. This program gives campers between the ages 11-15 who identify as BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) the opportunity to experience sailing during a fully funded, four-week summer camp. The diversity access initiative started in 2021 and has seen large growth since its inception. The 2021 class had 17 participants, a number that increased to 29 in 2022 and is on track to grown even more in 2023.

children learning to sail

The success of CSC is firmly rooted in the efforts of the people who work there. Emily Ridgewood, CSC’s Development and Communications Manager, said her colleagues are energized and motivated to help campers and make a deep impact on the community. Her own favorite part of her job is helping students from different backgrounds experience sailing, often for the first time.

Emily also noted, “Without donations from organizations such as Mascoma Bank, we wouldn’t be able to have as much impact on the community. Donations are truly the wind in our sails!”

Mascoma Bank is proud to support the work of CSC, including a new capital campaign, Love Your Lake, a construction-based project beginning in the fall that will allow CSC easier access to Lake Champlain.