[Greater-baltimore] Please Support A Historic Sail in Baltimore Harbor

Riccobono, Mark MRiccobono at nfb.org
Thu Sep 13 04:23:55 UTC 2012

Fellow Federationists,

When I was a student at the University of Wisconsin I spent a good deal of free time hanging out at the student union.  I came across the sailing club and started to spend time on the water. To my knowledge, I was the first blind person to get certified to sail the BadgerTech--the custom built dingy of the sailing club. Sailing on Lake Mendota was one of the ways I learned that blindness need not be the barrier to success that many automatically assume. Besides, no one sees the wind.

Since I arrived in Baltimore, I have had it on my list to go to the Downtown Sailing Center (www.downtownsailing.org<http://www.downtownsailing.org>) to check out their programs. I am ashamed to say it took me nearly nine years to get there but I was pleased with what I found--an eager group of committed sailors working to offer programs to a broad range of individuals. I am impressed by the work the DSC does with youth to engage them in sailing. I am also excited by the opportunity to get more blind people involved in their accessible sailing program and the enthusiasm of the DSC staff to build that aspect of the program. They invited me to find a few blind people to sail in an upcoming event. When I told them I would find enough to fill an entire heat of their regatta, they enthusiastically supported the idea even though there has never been a regatta of all blind sailors in the Baltimore harbor.

On September 22, members of the National Federation of the Blind will compete in a heat of the Ya Gotta Regatta--the annual fundraiser and educational outreach event to support the accessible sailing program at DSC. This is a great collaboration of two empowering nonprofits based within a mile of each other in south Baltimore. The friendly regatta competition between members of the Federation in the Baltimore harbor will change what it means to be blind and create new opportunities for the blind.

Team NFB needs your help. We have pledged to raise money to support the important work of our new partner. As I mentioned, the DSC has one annual fundraiser for its accessible sailing program--Ya Gotta Regatta. Any contribution you can make to support Team NFB will be sincerely appreciated. Please visit our fundraising page at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/NFB/ya-gotta-regatta-fundraiser/team  The regatta is right around the corner so please make your contribution ASAP but definitely prior to September 22. Team NFB looks forward to representing you and demonstrating the capacity of blind sailors in the Ya Gotta Regatta.

The first all blind regatta in the Baltimore harbor will be a historic event. However, it will just be the beginning of imaginative, empowering opportunities to come from the partnership of the Downtown Sailing Center and the National Federation of the Blind. Thank you in advance for your support .

Mark Riccobono

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