If you’re a kid growing up in the heart of Jersey City, N.J., you usually just get to watch the rich and famous sailing only blocks away in Upper New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
That changed for 12 kids from New City Christian Reformed Church in Jersey City, a multiethnic church supported by Christian Reformed Home Missions.
Rev. Trevor Rubingh, pastor of the church and a sailing enthusiast, went sailing one day with sailing instructor Tony Hinchliff, and together they hatched the idea to offer a sailing experience to the kids at New City Church.
Michael Fortenbaugh, commodore of the prestigious Sailing Club of Manhattan, donated the use of a J-24, a popular 24-foot craft with one mast and two sails. Insurance was also covered by the Sailing Club.
With those obstacles overcome,
Rubingh had to convince skeptical parents to approve the experience. Rubingh handles the recruiting, screening, and discipline, while Hinchliff handles the training. The kids sail once a week, ending the summer with a retreat on a larger boat for the best sailors.
When Rubingh hears the kids comment, “I’ve never been on a boat before,” or, “I’m getting out of my comfort zone, exploring new things,” he knows the value of the program. He hopes to add another boat and an August racing event this year.