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About - The History of MCSC

The History of Milwaukee Community Sailing Center

Major Accomplishments

  • Provided more than 100,000 people the opportunity to learn about themselves, develop leadership skills, appreciate the natural resources of their community, and enjoy the majesty of sailing.
  • Tallied more than 70,000 volunteer hours helping children and adults.
  • Reached more than 1,000 children with Prams in the Park
  • Provided more than 18,000 Milwaukee children, as well as adults with disabilities, basic sailing experiences.
  • Offered more than 1,500 sailing classes , providing more than 18,000 hours of sailing instruction.
  • Taught nearly 15,000 adults how to sail.
  • Members donated 70,000 volunteer hours (at average of $10 an hour that's $700,000 in in-kind donations)
  • Members have raised more than $450,000 at hosted special events.

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, Inc. was founded in 1977 when a group of local sailors got together with county officials to form a unique, community organization to make sailing accessible to all in the Milwaukee area. After incorporation and construction of the offices and maintenance facility in 1979, the MCSC opened with lessons and rentals in 1980 with an enthusiastic staff of 10 and a humble fleet of Tech Dinghies, Volants and a safety boat.

As the support network of membership began to grow, so did the staff, fleet and course offerings. Basic adult and youth courses annually created hundreds of new sailors on Lake Michigan. The nationally renowned "Prams in the Park" program started in 1984 and continues to bring water safety education to Milwaukee County Park lagoons, and this season at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin as well. MCSC offers scholarships to economically disadvantaged youth to give everyone the opportunity to participate, learn and have fun.

Through generous donations from sailors across the United States and fleet purchases, the MCSC now owns and maintains about 63 boats, including 25 Pearson Ensigns - one of the largest fleets in the United States - as well as Solings, J24s, 470s, Hunter 146s, Designer Choice and JY dinghies, Holder Hawks and specifically designed Access dinghies for physically challenged sailors.

The educational and recreational programs have also expanded - MCSC offers adult and youth members a full range of basic, intermediate and advanced sailing courses as well as regattas, volunteer instructor opportunities and Open Sailing six days a week on a variety of sailboats. Today, the MCSC has four full-time, year-round staff members. During the sailing season the staff swells to more than 40. With a strong support network base of 700+ members the growth has placed unprecedented demands on the offices, fleet, classrooms, dockhouse and maintenance facility. Additional space is needed to continue offering the highest quality sailing programs possible. The groundwork is in place for a 'new' MCSC.

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