Orange Coast College’s School of Sailing and Seamanship received a Reach Hub grant and distinction as a “center of excellence” in STEM education this past July.
The grant comes directly from US Sailing, a non-profit organization based in Bristol, Rhode Island, OCC, along with five other Southern California programs, was given the donation with explicit direction to combine “educators, sailing instructors, engineers, scientists with today’s youth to provide them with a one of a kind authentic learning experience”, US Sailing officials wrote in a statement.
With the grant funds, the sailing school can greatly enhance and expand its many programs for youth ages 7 to 17. “The grant will go towards STEM-related activities and scholarships,” sailing program coordinator Mette Segerblom confirmed.
Part of the Reach Hub Grant is the Skill Development and Science Exploration Course. In this class and many others, more than 300 students have worked in STEM-sailing integrated courses.
OCC’s School of Sailing has established itself as one of the best programs on the West Coast dating back to 1950. Its history has made the community college a popular dock for donor. In 2012, the Jarrel Barto family donated a 92-foot vessel to OCC’s sailing school. “Nordic Star” has since been certified by the Coast Guard as an instructional and charter vessel.
This steady stream of donations and grants can be attributed to the school’s “overall approach to community activities,” Segerblom said.
Despite the COVID-19 shutdowns and resulting regulations, OCC’s School of Sailing and Seamanship has been able to hold Youth Summer Sailing Camps throughout the summer, and will offer After School Sailing & Science Camps this Fall starting September 11. The school also offers online courses.
The school is also expanding infrastructure through its Maritime Training Center and pedestrian bridge project.