SF State Community Youth Summer Sailing and Paddling Program
The SF State Community Youth Sailing and Paddling Program is a sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding safety and activity instruction curriculum and environmental education program on beautiful Lake Merced in San Francisco. It is offered through the SF State Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, in cooperation with the University Corporation San Francisco State and other partner organizations. Lake Merced is an ideal place for sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddling because of its sheltered waters, steady afternoon winds, and abundant wildlife in a beautiful environment, along with its close proximity to urban residents. The lake is a City of San Francisco designated natural area so it provides outstanding opportunities for youth to be involved in hands-on environmental education activities which help them get to know the lake’s water sources and quality, aquatic ecosystems, commonly seen plants and wildlife.
Safety is our number one priority. Instructors are certified and experienced. Boats are top quality and easy to operate. We provide low cost, half day, Monday-Friday youth sailing camps and half day youth paddling and lake environment camps for kids ages 8-15 years. You can combine the sailing and kayaking camps into an adventurous full day multi activity camp. We also offer a full–day Sailing and Science week-long camp for youth 8-12 that places a special emphasis on learning science through sailing and other fun hands-on activities. During any of our week-long day camps participants will not only have fun and be trained on safe operation of small boats, but they’ll gain self confidence, practice teamwork and socialize with other classmates, each of which are applicable to many other situations. SF State also offers an adult sailing class through the regular university. We invite your child to join us, and realize the joys of sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, and learn about the unique wildlife, plants and environment of Lake Merced. Our program is done in cooperation with, and permitted by, the City of San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks.
We Provide Services To All
Staff at the SF State Sailing and Paddling Program strive to provide affordable boating safety and activity instruction and environmental education to all children in the Bay Area. The minimum age is 8 years old. We offer opportunities to persons with disabilities either directly or in partnership with other organizations. In our community sailing and kayaking program a special emphasis is to provide affordable programs that can be accessed by all.
Everyone should have access to the joys, health enhancement and teambuidling of sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. It is our mission to provide fun safe aquatic recreation and environmental and science education instruction, and all their benefits, to persons of all ability/disability levels and all socio-economic backgrounds. Our primary concern is the safety of our participants. The SF State Community Youth Sailing and Paddling Program is committed to recreation, education and access for all in our community.
San Francisco has been heralded as a premier sailing destination around the world and hosted the 2013 America's Cup races on San Francisco Bay. SFSU started providing sailing classes to college students in the 1970s. In 2003 SFSU began offering community youth sailing instruction on Lake Merced. Initially, the project was funded through grants from America True, the CA Dept. of Boating and Waterways, the SFSU College of Health & Social Sciences and the Dept. of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism. We also partner with the City of San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks. SFSU began with a summer sailing camp for youth at Lake Merced and over 150 students participated in our first year. We have added kayaking, sailing and science options, and in 2014, stand-up paddleboarding. Our program has grown and today the SF State Community Youth Sailing and Paddling Program provides outreach instruction to hundreds of kids, many from youth groups, such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, SF Unified School District and nonprofit community organizations.
Lake Merced is a beautiful natural area with abundant wildlife, despite its urban location. We have added environmental and science education elements, especially designed for youth 8-15 years, to our summer programs. Kayaking is a great way to observe nature up close with minimal disturbance, so in 2010, we began to offer a kayaking and lake environment camp. Today you can make a full day multi activity youth camp by combining ½ day sailing and ½ day paddling with lake environment and science camps.
SF State Community Youth Sailing camps focus on beginning sailing safety and activity instruction classes for youth 8-15. Our current youth sailing camps have a maximum of 18 students, which fosters safety of the students and increases educational opportunities. We provide a certified instructor for each camp and one assistant instructor who also hold certificates in CPR and First Aid. We use smaller sized sailboats that make sailing easy to learn. No previous sailing experience is required. Youth ages 8-15 are welcome to apply. We provide high quality life jackets (PFDs) and all participants must wear them while in a boat or on a dock. Swimming ability is strongly recommended. Affordable swimming instruction is available through a local YMCA or a neighborhood SF Recreation and Parks Department pool. All students must register, pay fees and provide medical consent and liability release forms signed by their parent or guardian prior to being allowed to participate. There is a minimum class size of 8 students. For more information contact us at email@example.com.
All Youth Sailing Camps are five days in length and run Monday through Friday. No previous sailing experience is needed.
Afternoon Sailing Session: M-F, 1:00pm-4:00pm Ages 8–15 $210
We also offer a week long, full day, sailing and science camp for youth ages 8-12 that places a special focus on helping campers learn about the science of sailing, as well as the Lake Merced environment. Youth will get involved with hands-on learning activities and fun experiential education exercises that will bring science to life. Topics include wildlife biology, hydrology, math and basic physics. We provide certified instructors who also hold certificates in CPR and First Aid; small sized sailboats that make sailing easy to learn. No previous sailing experience is required. Youth ages 8-12 are welcome to apply. Swimming ability is strongly recommended. Affordable swimming instruction is available through a local YMCA or a neighborhood SF Recreation and Parks Department pool. All students must register, pay fees and provide medical consent and liability release forms signed by their parent or guardian prior to being allowed to participate. Class size is a maximum of 16 students and there is a minimum class size of 8 students.
Each student will learn the basic principles of safe sailing, sail trim, boat maneuvering, safety, knots and protection of the environment. They will also get involved with daily hands-on learning activities and experiential education exercises that will illustrate and educate about the physical and biological sciences. This camp starts at 9:00am, with youth 8-15 sailing in the morning to ensure lighter winds. The afternoons are usually spent with hands-on science activities interspersed with sailing. Lunch is NOT provided and there are no nearby food vendors, so participants must bring their own lunch each day.
Sailing and Science Camp: M-F, 9:00am-4:00pm Ages: 8–15 $409
SF State Community Youth Paddling Camps focus on beginning kayaking and stand-up paddle board safety and activity instruction and environmental education activities for youth 8–15 years. Lake Merced is an ideal place to learn kayaking and paddle boarding because of its moderate winds, sheltered waters and it is a City of San Francisco designated natural area with abundant wildlife in a beautiful environment. The camps combine kayak and SUP safety and technique instruction, with hands-on educational activities to help youth get interested and learn about the natural environment in and around Lake Merced. The first three days are kayaking and the final two days are SUP. Safety is our number one priority. Paddling camps have a maximum of 12 boats, which fosters safety of the students and maximizes educational opportunities. We provide an American Canoe Association certified leader and assistant for each camp who also hold certificates in CPR and First Aid; a stable two-person sit-on-top kayak and paddle that make kayaking easy to learn; and a wide stable stand-up paddle board and SUP paddle; and a youth-sized life jacket (personal flotation device). No previous kayaking or SUP experience is required. All youth are welcome to apply, but each should know how to swim . All students must register, pay fees and provide medical consent and liability release forms signed by their parent or guardian prior to being allowed to participate. Class size is a maximum of 24 students and there is a minimum class size of 8 students. Available dates are limited, see attached schedule. Camps are made possible through a grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways.
Morning Paddling and Lake Environment Session: M–F, 9:00am–12:00pm Ages: 8–15 $199
Combine morning paddling with afternoon sailing and your child has an exciting varied full day camp. Not only will they receive coordinated instruction in both activities, your child will also enjoy hands-on learning activities, ranging from birding to crafts. Lunch is NOT included.
All Full Day Sailing and Paddling Camps are five days in length and run Monday through Friday. No previous sailing/kayaking experience is needed. It is a two step process to register for the full day week-long camp. Step 1, simply register for an available morning kayaking camp, and Step 2, then register for the afternoon sailing camp that week.
Full Day Sailing and Paddling Camp: M–F, 9:00am–4:00pm Ages: 8–15 $409
Gator Youth Sports Summer Camp
Another popular summer youth program is the SFSU Gator Youth Summer Sports Camp. It provides supervised afternoon (1–5pm) sports activities, such as baseball and martial arts for boys and girls ages 7–14. We do NOT operate or take reservations for Gator Sports Camp, but recommend it. See https://kin.sfsu.edu/gatorcamp for more details.
We currently offer RPT 161 Small Boat Sailing (1 unit) a regular university class in the spring and fall semesters. The learning objectives of this class are to develop an understanding of basic sailing theory, safety practices and development of skills and techniques in small boat sailing. Other topics include knots, rigging, boat handling, docking and capsize recovery. Students register through the regular university process.
Our team of expert kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing instructors and professors can develop an effective, customized team building program for your organization at a reasonable cost. We have successfully performed this for various types of groups, from corporate sales to nonprofit managers. We have found a 3-4 hour program is ideal. Combine this with a catered lunch at Lake Merced and you have a special opportunity to build morale, communications and have fun together. Plus proceeds from your event goes to our youth sailing and paddling program scholarships. References available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
All SF State Summer Youth Sailing and Paddling Camps Are Monday – Friday.
Camps start June 11 and are offered each week through July 27, 2018.
The 2018 Schedule and Prices.
- Half Day M-F Sailing Camp 1-4pm ($210): June 11-15, 18-22, 25-29; July 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27
- Half Day M-F Paddling Camp 9am-12pm ($199): June 11-15,18-22, 25-29, July 2-6, 9-13,16-20, 23-27
- Full Day M-F Sailing and Science Camp 9am-4pm ($409): June 25-29; July 16-20
If a class date is not shown on our registration site it means that date is full and not available.
Checking for availability and registration is done on-line. At our registration site you will be asked to select a specific camp type and date, provide participant information and emergency contact information. To complete the on–line reservation you will be asked to make a full payment by credit card and will also be required to download a medical consent form and a liability release form. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 2018 CAMPS.
If your child has special needs contact us at least three weeks in advance to see if and how we can best accommodate your child. If you require an alternative type of registration, payment by check, or additional information, please email us:
SF State Community Sailing and Paddling Program
Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132
The following organizations are important partners that make SF State Community Sailing and Paddling Program possible. We thank them for their continuing support.
SF State Community Sailing and Kayaking program operates through generous grants and scholarship donations from the CA Department of Boating and Waterways, America True, and private individuals, as well as in-kind support from SFSU. Donating to SF State Community Sailing is now more important than ever and a way for you to help ensure our community will continue to have a safe and affordable venue for sailing and kayaking education. All donations are tax-deductable. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information on how you can help.
We also seek volunteers to help as teaching assistants and with maintaining our fleet and boathouse. We provide training to all teaching assistants. If you are interested in helping youth by volunteering your time, materials or expertise please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can continue to make this wonderful program available to the San Francisco community.
The Lake Merced Boathouse is located at Harding Park off Skyline Blvd in San Francisco, near the SFSU campus just minutes from 280 and The Great Highway. There is plentiful free parking.
For information on ways to conserve water and help our lakes and streams in California go to: http://www.saveourH2O.org
We support and the state has officially adopted a Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights. SFSU faculty helped push for this designation. One of the key rights of children in this declaration is:
Every child should have the opportunity to: Go Boating
To learn more about this bill of rights go to: http://www.parks.ca.gov