There's a vast difference between the US and Portugal in many things. Family is still important in Portugal, and the youth there haven't been overwhelmed by the technology available to them. In some ways I feel very sorry for kids growing up today...yes, they have high-speed internet, fast computers, X-Box, Playstation III, cell phones with IM and internet capabilities, but they seem to be missing out on so much of what I had when I was their age. Hiking, camping, sailing, canoeing, fishing, and most of the other outdoor recreation, aside from the highly regimented after school sports, all seem to be missing from their lives. When was the last time you saw a bunch of kids playing a pickup game of kickball or soccer. Around here, I haven't seen anything like that in a long time. When I was growing up, it happened almost weekly.
Most of the marinas around here have racing programs, but most aren't targeted towards supporting young sailors. It is pretty hard to get into sailing if you don't have anyone around you that does sail. Boats are expensive, yatch clubs memberships are expensive, and I know a lot of teens that would love to learn to sail, if they just had an opportunity to do so.
Part of the problem is that sailing isn't seen as an accessible sport for many, mostly due to the expense of the sport. I find that to be somewhat a cop-out.... look at golf and skiing.. both are pretty expensive sports, and a good set of golf clubs or skis probably goes for what a small car-toppable dinghy would.
I've donated my time and money to several programs that do cater to young sailors... but they're pretty far and few between, even up here in New England, where sailing is more of a tradition than it is in other parts of the US.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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