Build Boat and Sail

submitted by Adam Burks

Suttons Bay, MI – Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) is seeking area youth to participate in a free boat building program. Beginning January 11, 2020, youth ages 8-12 can participate in a three-month Opti-Pram Sailboat Building Workshop. Classes are held on Saturdays from January through March at the Great Lakes Discovery Center campus in Traverse City. Students can earn a scholarship for a 2020 Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) class to learn how to sail the boat they build. The workshop is free, but space is limited and registration is required.

Students work in small groups with professional instructors and trained volunteers to build two opti-pram sailboats. The boats then go into the TACS fleet for sailing instruction. Students learn project management, shop safety, woodworking, and small tool use in a safe and welcoming environment. “These programs are one of the ways we create a love of the lakes, and hopefully future stewards. There is something about using a vessel that you built that makes you want to preserve the body of water so you can continue to be on it,” said Fred Sitkins, Executive Director of ISEA.

Any youth age 8-12 is eligible for the free workshop, but space is limited to ten for the course. Fred Sitkins added, “The one-on-one attention that students receive, along with the teamwork learned, during these workshops also benefit the students who participate.” To register for the free Opti-Pram Sailboat Building Workshop, contact Adam Burks at or 231-620-1148. Adults interested in working alongside students in this program may also contact Adam for more information.

In addition to the Opti-Pram workshop, adults can assist with other ISEA boat shop projects such as a coracle building workshop with students, restoring and re-rigging a lapstrake sailing skiff, and building a new staysail boom.  Any adult (experienced or not) interested in being part of these projects is welcome to come learn and participate. Contact Adam for more information.

Inland Seas Education Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Suttons Bay, Michigan, dedicated to STEM education on the Great Lakes. Its shipboard and shore-side education programs are designed to inspire people of all ages to provide for the long-term stewardship of the Great Lakes. ISEA offers programs to schools, groups, and the public. For further information, contact Inland Seas Education Association at (231) 271-3077 or on the web at

Sportsmen for Youth – Youth Day

Sportsmen for Youth presents

Date:  September 8, 2018
Location: Muskegon County Fairgrounds 6621 Heights Ravenna Road from 9am-3pm.

sfyyouthdayThis is an absolutely FREE family friendly day. The first 2500 youth who are 17 yrs. and younger will receive a t-shirt, free lunch, prize drawings, and goodie bag.

Youth Day is designed to introduce and educate youth to all things outdoors. From hunting and fishing to conservation and good stewardship of our natural resources.  Youth Day is dedicated to promoting the safe pursuit of outdoor activities.

Youth Day includes fantastic guest speakers at the Hawg Trough which is a semi-trailer size tank that will be filled with local fish species and act as a stage for guest speakers.  Mark Martin, Logan Locke, Dan Zatarga, Mitch Johnson, Chris Noffsinger, Kyle Buck, Todd Sokolow and Stacey Chuppallo will entertain the crowd.  A rock climbing wall and birds of prey exhibit will be on hand.

Return favorites to Youth Day are: the “Trout Pond” where live trout are caught and cleaned for youth, shooting of firearms and archery, and many others. Over sixty exhibitors will be on hand to educate the youth.

A partnership between Sportsmen for Youth and the Muskegon County Area Fire Chiefs was formed several years ago. At Youth Day, attendees will experience various fire safety exhibits, demonstrations and tours of fire trucks of all types.  Law Enforcement will also be on hand with displays.

Sportsmen for Youth is a non-profit organization is able to continue Youth Day free thanks to the generosity and donations from local businesses and private donations. It costs approximately $30,000 to make Youth Day happen free of charge.  Again this year there will be a raffle for 5 firearms.  All proceeds to be used for Youth Day!

Please direct any questions to, Thank you, Sportsmen for Youth Executive Board