WOW! Women On Water promotes women's health through sailing
WOW! Women On Water is a non-profit organization committed to promoting the health and wellness of women through the sport of sailing. It's housed under the Nova Scotia Yatching Association as part of its Women's Programs and provides financial support in the form of bursaries for women in Nova Scotia who want to learn how to sail or want to improve their existing skills. WOW! is committed to promoting the health and wellness of women through sailing mentoring and education. On Thursday, July 21, 2011 organizers are holding a silent auction and BBQ to raise funds and awareness for WOW!
WOW! was created in 2007 in memory of Pamela Lerch who passed away from breast cancer on April 22, 2007 at age 45. Pamela was a devoted sailor and active supporter of breast cancer initiatives whose wish was to establish a not-for-profit organization that would enhance and promote the health of women through sailing. The foundation was created and now offers three unique bursary programs for women.
Aside from bursaries, WOW! also presents The Pamela Lerch Memorial WOW! Cup to a female mentor in sailing who demonstrates outstanding leadership and participation in sailing education. The WOW! Cup is presented at the NSYA annual general meeting. Since its establishment, WOW! has given away eight bursaries and three cups.
WOW! is supported by a variety of donations from Nova Scotia-based organizations including Atlantic Acura, Garrison Brewing, NSYA and Century 21. It’s housed under the NSYA Women’s Programs which, according to Dr. Gahagan, requires more visibility in an effort to increase utilization.
Those involved in the program see WOW! as a bridge between the people with access to boats and those who want access. The future of the program looks hopeful and organizers are optimistic that with fundraising events, like the silent auction and BBQ on July 21, the WOW! bursaries can grow and more women can become involved in sailing in N.S.
The money received from the bursaries can go toward dry-land training in the winter months, the purchase of sailing equipment or the cost of sailing lessons. Eligibility and deadline depend on type of bursary.
“The WOW! bursary is really the only thing allowing me to take lessons. I've always wanted to sail and never really had the opportunity until I moved to Nova Scotia. I've never had the chance to sail and still wouldn't if it weren't for WOW!.” -Erica Siba, a master’s student in health promotion at Dalhousie University, received the Sailing Education Bursary from WOW! in April.
“The on-ramp to sailing can be a bit of a challenge. WOW! is a great opportunity for women to have access to boats and get out on the water whether it’s their first time or they’re competitive sailors in need of additional funding.” -Jacqueline Gahagan, professor in the Department of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University and founding chairperson of WOW.
“Women’s sailing programs across the board are not very well utilized. WOW! aims to increase women’s excitement about sailing and have it be considered a viable health promotion activity.” -Jacqueline Gahagan, professor in the Department of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University and founding chairperson of WOW!
“There are a lot of costs associated with sailing. But because of programs like WOW!, women are getting more and more involved. One recipient of the bursary was able to sail half-way around the world and another was able to become a certified instructor.” -Frank Denis, executive director of the Nova Scotia Yachting Association.
"Nova Scotia provides a great venue for activities like sailing. Some people think power boating is their only option if they want to get out on the water. In reality, power boating is not very environmentally friendly and provides little physical activity compared to sailing.” -Jacqueline Gahagan, professor in the Department of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University and founding chairperson of WOW!
|Women of WOW!|
- Katie McDonald, Communications Officer, 494-1323, email@example.com