Parents don't have to buy their kids a boat to get them into sailing and if they did want to buy a boat it's not too hard to find dinks under $500. If you live in an area where sailing's at all popular there are always sailing camps and classes for kids that don't cost any more than any other camps and classes kids take. I learned to sail and race on old beat up lasers and 420's then moved on to old beat up sonars and J22's before graduating to big boat sailing/racing.
Beneteau Oceanis 400
formerly Lippincott 30