A new initiative is linking sea and shore-side communities. ‘Inspire Giving through You’ is a community-based initiative launched in November by IGY Marinas, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-headquartered international marina network spanning two hemispheres. The first projects get underway this month in eight locations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“We’ve been an active contributor in the local communities in which we operate for years now, contributing to a number of charity events, fundraisers, maritime youth programs, fishing tournaments and conservational projects,” explains IGY Events Coordinator Amberly Chojnacki. “Last year, our executive team decided we should get everyone involved, from strategic partners and marina staff to marina guests, boat owners, captains and crews. The main goal of this project is to encourage others to make the commitment to serve alongside IGY by inspiring others through the act of giving back.”
Community outreach days are set for February 20th and June 11th, 2016. The February events will take place with Blue Haven Marina, Turks & Caicos; Yacht Haven Grande and American Yacht Harbor, St. Thomas; Yacht Club at Isle de Sol and Simpson Bay Marina, St. Maarten; Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia; Marina Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Marina Santa Marta, Columbia.
Pantry stocking, deep cleaning, and tidying up the grounds and gardens of a nearby children’s home is the community project planned in the Turks & Caicos.
“We visited the home earlier in the year to see how we could assist,” says Adam Foster, General Manager of Blue Haven Marina. “It became obvious staple foods were needed. We are lucky to deal with high net worth individuals who were happy to assist with donations of nonperishable food items, as well as clothing. As part of this project we invited the kids and their caregivers to the marina for a tour, where we spoke about how potential careers in the maritime industry. On the 20th we will take a team from the Resort and Marina as well as captains and crew that wish to assist. Our commitment to this project will be an ongoing commitment, not just a few days a year.”
In St. Thomas, staff will assist with repairs and maintenance to a community pool facility.
“The St. Thomas Swimming Association’s Community Aquatic Center is where our MVP (Marine Vocational Program) students learn to swim,” says Jimmy Loveland, program founder and director of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. American Yacht Harbor Marina hosts the annual tournament every August. “Once they know how to swim, they move into learn to scuba dive and learn to sail programs. This provides a foundation and preparation for hospitality careers in our marine industry.”
Making improvements to the grounds of a community center for high-risk teens is the project on tap in St. Lucia.
“Partnering with the Boys’ Training Centre was only natural, considering the center’s proximity to the marina is a three-minute drive away,” says Shane Macauldy, marketing, sales and events manager at Rodney Bay Marina. “The center is blessed, or some would say encumbered with a large land area. Our plan is to landscape the entire area. In addition to staff members, yachtsmen and yachtswomen in the marina will tag along with their gloves, rakes and shovels. We specifically chose a project that requires very little specialization so as to get everyone involved.”
In Colombia, renovations to the Sierra Laguna foundation’s school yard include demolition of unsafe cracked and fragmented concrete and tiles.
“The current condition of the yard is unsafe. By enhancing the outdoor space, it will create an inviting and welcoming space for relaxation, recreation, and various interactive activities. The children and adults of the foundation would greatly benefit from the improvements,” says Valerie Mazenett, the non-profits support staff. “The Sierra Laguna foundation expresses its deepest appreciation of gratitude, the school yard has been in-need of help for some time now, and on February 20th, 2016 we will have a brand new recreational area!” IGY Marinas is looking for volunteers to help with demolition of walkways, install playground equipment, plant indigenous shrubbery throughout the property, and update the overall safety of the yard.
On June 11th, ‘Inspire Giving through You’ projects will take place at Red Frog Resort and Marina, Bocas del Toro, Panama; the Newport Yacht Club & Marina, Newport, NJ; North Cove Marina, Manhattan, NY; and the Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina, Hamptons, NY.
For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, visit: www.igymarinas.com/igy-community-service
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.