ROCKLAND — The Sail, Power and Steam Museum held a free youth sailing program called Sail Kids For Free from its Rockland Harbor location next to Snow Marine Park.

Working with kids from 6 to 14 years old, the program ran 11 one-week sessions, with a total of 97 participants throughout the summer, an increase of over 50% from last year.

“Once word got out about Sail Kids For Free,” said Program Director Diane Sternberg, “we were filled to capacity with a healthy waiting list throughout the season. Our docks and boats were filled with laughter and energy!”

Museum Co-Founder Capt. Jim Sharp, added, “I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to be able to provide these kids the opportunity to get out on the water, regardless of their ability to pay. Our mission is to run interactive programs that teach both young and old about our maritime history and heritage. This is a great way to grab their attention at an early age.”

“Expanding the program during a second summer of the pandemic was especially important. Getting them outside and off their computers, teaching the art and science of sailing, having them experience the environment while participating in a program that encourages resilience, independence and leadership – well, you just can’t beat that,” added Sharp.

Special thanks go to museum supporters as well as foundations such as Maine Community Foundations’ Knox County Fund, the Wild Blue Fund, the Metcalfe Family Fund for Knox County and the Captain Raymond Thombs Memorial Fund. Several local companies also added their support through corporate sponsorships, including Knight Marine Service, Hamilton Marine and Jeff’s Marine.

Those who wish to help the museum continue to expand and develop this program can donate at sailpowersteammuseum.org or send a check directly to Sail, Power and Steam Museum, 75 Mechanic St., Rockland ME 04841.