Gratitude Sailing endorsed by Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation

  • Friday, February 2, 2018 4:00pm
  • Life

By Bonni Sundberg

Special to the Reporter

In today’s fast-paced world, it is often difficult to find a way to relax and unwind.

But what if you or a family member had a severe health issue or a physical, mental or emotional challenge that you dealt with on a daily basis? Not only would you have the “stresses of life” to contend with, you would also have to deal with things most of us can’t even imagine.

We can uncork a bottle of wine, go away for the weekend, just veg out in front of the TV watching football, or watch a good movie. Many people living in our society, however, aren’t as capable of finding a way to “get away from it all”; relaxing isn’t always easy.

Fortunately, there is a Kirkland-based group that can help those struggling with this. Gratitude Sailing, a local organization, aims to give children and adults with severe health issues and physical, mental and emotional problems an opportunity to do something fun, challenging and rejuvenating.

“Gratitude Sailing was formed to use the challenge of sailing to help people unburden themselves from a physical, mental or social crisis,” founder Stephen Lamson said. “We know that heeling* is healing, and we are committed to serving those that sailing can help.”

The group’s 52-foot wooden sailboat started doing therapeutic sails in 2014. By the end of May 2018, Gratitude Sailing will have taken more than 1,000 children and adults sailing on local waters.

They have taken groups of six to 20 people on board who are dealing with cancer, autism, depression, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s and more. There are five qualified skippers and 12 to 15 crew members who rotate on most sailings.

Each trip lasts for about 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours; all participants are offered a turn at the helm. Everyone on the boat has the opportunity to participate if they are able.

The experience can often be brand new for many people on board, and has frequently resulted in smiles, tears and laughter. Lamson has seen friendships form and comaraderie formed between those sailing. Most often, he has seen the participants enjoying themselves, which is something that can have a lasting impact.

The 1963 classic wooden Kettenburg sailboat pictured above was donated by Barbara and Gerry Maurer (former commodore of the Seattle Yacht Club) and in today’s market would cost about $3 million to build. Each time she is taken out for a sail, it costs Gratitude Sailing $750 to $1000.

There is no charge to participate. During the winter months, moorage is donated by Kathy Swanson, manager at Liberty Bay Marina in Poulsbo, WA. This saves the group about $1,500 a month.

While doing therapeutic sails, moorage is paid directly by the group.

Since Gratitude Sailing is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, they rely on personal donations, corporate sponsorships, grants, auctions and fund-raising cocktail parties. The Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation has been a sponsor of Gratitude Sailing for the past three years.

The group’s success with children is rooted in the Kiwanis mission statement of “Serving the Children of the World.” Gratitude Sailing promotes the social and spiritual wellness of both children and adults by temporarily immersing them in a novel and challenging environment.

They believe in celebrating properties of being on the water together — growing, learning and having a great time.

* Heeling is when a ship or boat leans over to one side from the action of waves or from the centrifugal force of a turn or under wind pressure.

If you would like to make a donation and learn more about Gratitude Sailing, visit their website at www.gratitudeSailingNW.or or call Stephen Lamson at (425) 503-1499.

For more information about The Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation, go to www.kirklandkiwanisfoundation.org or call Tom Pendergrass at (206) 910-1949.

More in Life

Rose Hill Middle School will present “Mulan Jr.” on March 22 and 23. Front row from left: Annika Shinoda, Audrey Yu, Vada Chambers, Grace Gentile, Brooke Barr, Jasmine Alsorour, Noella Johnson, Ariane Pereira, Simran Brar, Sadie Klinkenberg, Katie Davis. Middle row from left: Robert Schrimsher, Lena Mancano, Erisa Baba, Izzy Nelson, Kennedy Tuson, Ashley Locke, Ash Hodgson, Kayomi Prieto, Ananya Unnikrishnan, Michelle Lee. Back row from left: Lili Ponder, Danielle Burchard, Quinn Malick, Parker Mathews, Max Fanning, Kylan Guest, Cade D’Agostino, Elissa Ondrusek Sophia Mattie, Camryn Martin, Levi Cheung, Alena Speirs, Madeleine King, Kinley Moss, Lauren Jernigan, Abby Hebert. Photo courtesy of Shanna Barr.
Rose Hill Middle School to present Disney’s ‘Mulan Jr.’

It will be performed at the Lake Washington High School theater March 22 and 23.

Derek Bermel, Seattle Symphony composer in residence, visited Thoreau Elementary after their composition was selected to be performed at Benaroya Hall. Photo courtesy of Seattle Symphony
Fifth grade students become musical composers

Thoreau Elementary was selected to have their composition played by the Seattle Symphony.

Community invited to comment on Kirkland’s stormwater management program plan

Draft plan outlines city’s actions to comply with state permit.

Everyday habits for a healthy heart

Heart Health Month may be done, but here are some tips that can help all year-round.

Finn Hill musicians perform at Junior All-State Concert

The students performed at the Washington Music Educators Association convention at Clark College in Vancouver.

Kirkland Arts Center looks to the future

KAC recently completed a strategic planning process for 2019-2023.

Despite ‘wait-and-see’ approach from Feds on interest rates, real estate ticking onward

Though the feds are in a wait-and-see mood there are benefits to buying and/or selling now versus waiting.

Songwriter group to hold showcase to benefit incoming Kirkland shelter

The showcase will be from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Den Coffee Shop in Bothell.

Crème Tangerine celebrates Beatles’ White Album’s 50th anniversary at KPC. From left: Rick Jones, Daniel Grant, and Tim Mushen. Madison Miller/staff photo
Creme Tangerine plays Beatles’ White Album for 50th anniversary

The band played the entire White Album at the Kirkland Performance Center on Jan. 31.

Getting to know cops over coffee in Kirkland

Large crowd of varied law enforcement, patrons bond over java at Juanita Starbucks.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology - Reporter file photo
LWTech to hold community resource fair on Feb. 12

The event will bring resources together to support low-income, marginalized populations who face multiple barriers.

Eastside thrift shop donates $151K in 2018

Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop provides grant funds to nonprofit organizations on the Eastside.