Six scholarships are also awarded for a two-week “mini camp” for third- and fourth-graders from four local elementary schools. The past commodores explained that it takes considerable work to convince school administrators to send youngsters to the camp. To bolster their pitch, they produced an eight-minute video to show school officials the lessons and values of sailing as a lifetime sport. Apparently school administrators are nervous about losing students in their in-house sports programs, and even though the Shrewsbury River, Navesink River and Atlantic Ocean surround the area, I was told that very few young people have the opportunity to get out on the water. Some of the award recipients bring their parents into the fold, and many of the adults become
Shrewsbury members. Thus the scholarship program is an effective tool for recruiting new members. I was told there’s considerable
concern about the average age (currently 58) of Shrewsbury’s membership, which is an issue at many U.S. yacht clubs. Adding engaged young sailors, as well as their parents, helps balance out the club’s aging demographic.
The past commodores provide a few Optimist dinghies for youngsters without their own boat. The group also takes on other projects, including buying new trophy cases and supporting the local sailing team at Monmouth University. Prioritizing junior sailing is essential because the group believes Shrewsbury’s future depends on it.