Stories and Impact

Sailing builds skills, friendships and community!

Elizabeth's story:

"When I first came to Canada I was lost and wasn’t about to be found (silly joke moment). I didn’t know where to start from, so I went to check on YMCA office. Right there I spotted an announcement about Armdale’s sailing lessons. Two amazing gentlemen named Anthony Rosborough and Nick White were too persuading about their amazing program for newcomers to Canada. With this persuading, I was sure to sign up. 

Unfortunately, due to my crazy work schedule, I couldn’t enjoy all the lessons, BUT it was an amazing experience of a lifetime. The team of professionals, like Schnell D’Souza, Gerry Giffin and Paul Bezanson have lifted this experience up to the sky. Just imagine: it’s your birthday, the weather is fabulous, you are on the boat with you friend having an outstanding coach (Graham MacDougall) telling you funny stories and teaching you how to catch the wind and how to handle the boat. That was my most memorable day out of all this year with the sunset lightning up the clouds. 

So I want to say huge THANK YOU to Armdale’s Yacht club for having us and for all the patience and kindness they provided us with. I hope to meet you again!"

The El Atchan Family's story:

"My family and I arrived in Halifax city in May 2022 as new immigrants. We are originally from Lebanon, and we were living in Saudi Arabia for the last 15 years. Like most newcomers, it was essential for us to establish new connections, to discover this beautiful city and of course to escape from our daily stress by doing fun and relaxing activities. We were watching from our balcony sail boats cruising Bedford basin but it was hard for us to know where and how to get involved in this relaxing sport activity.

Luckily, we were introduced by YMCA to the Broader Reach program at Armdale Yacht club in July 2022. We joined them as beginners in a program composed from 8 sessions and later on my daughters also participated in a two week junior sailing program. The program was a combination of classroom and onboard training. 

Gradually, we moved from the sailing theory to getting on the water with our instructors. We had about 7 trips in the water, each trip was unique full of fun, experience and knowledge and provided the opportunity to see new and unfamiliar places. For us as a family it was the first activity we do together as a team. It was a great experience overall! We always felt we were in good hands during the entire program with Anthony and with all the instructors and the volunteers coaches. They were amazing, welcoming, highly qualified with decades of experience.

Indeed, we are very impressed with this program, and we would be happy to learn more advanced sailing techniques and to have our own boat in the future. Thank you very much Armdale Yacht club!"

Ilya's story:

"My name is Ilya Filipskiy. I came from Ukraine in the end of May. I was very lucky to find a place to live and good job. But during the summer I felt a lot of stress because of new place and new job. And it was hard to find any hobby just to relax. I'm a client of YMCA immigrant centre. And there was sailing course for new comers completely for free. I thought, this will be definitely a good thing to try, especially as I never ever tried sailing at all. I found the course very satisfying, and relaxing. I was freeing my thoughts and just enjoying a good time. Besides that I got of useful knowledge, such making sea knots and how identify the direction of wind. But the most important thing, was that the harders part for every new comer, the very first couple months, I was able to find a hobby and just relax after hard working day.

Thank you broader reach, all instructors and Anthony for giving me an opportunity try this wonderful class."

"To me, sailing is about community."

"As a first-generation immigrant, I can attest that feeling integrated into a new community can be challenging.

Fortunately, I found sailing, which was instrumental in helping me feel connected to Canadian culture and nature.

Participating in race nights, regattas, and instructor clinics allowed me to build strong connections and relationships. Given how tight-knit the community is, this has opened many doors for me across Canada

I have had the pleasure of living in a few different parts of Canada over the last 18 years, and every time I'm in a new city, the sailing community has always been a way for me to feel accepted and integrated into the larger community. 

My hope with Broader Reach is to provide sailors with that same community connection, opening doors to an incredible sport and community."

Schnell D'souza
Head Coach, Broader Reach Adult and Youth Learn to Sail Program