If sailing popularity is declining in areas where it once thrived, I don't believe the main reason is money. Fees for many of the youth programs I stated are certainly not free, but most are affordable. The boats are provided by the instruction facility and parent provided equipment, like pfds, is inexpensive.
This has less to do with ". . . high-speed internet, fast computers, X-Box, Playstation III, cell phones with IM and internet capabilities" but more related to a lack of motivational interest from the parents. If the parents encouraged their kids to participate in sailing, more youth sailing programs would either remain through public support, or it would become a stimulus for new program start-ups.
True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat