Summer program teaches kids how to set sail on Lake Michigan

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Lake Michigan is the perfect place to be in the summer. But when it comes to running mini sailboats on the big lake, the little captains on board are in charge. The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center provides a summer program called Prams in the Park, which teaches kids how to sail.

"We`re pretty much alone. We have to just be responsible and do what we know to do and it will all work out," 11-year-old Aidan Waterman said.

"At first they`re very cautious. I don`t know about this. I`m not sure, but once they come back it`s oh my that was so great I want to do it again," Milwaukee Community Sailing Center CEO Margaret Jaberg said.

The kids learn rigging, basic maneuvers, and how to recover if the boat capsizes.

Like many of the children, 11-year-old Amelia Larson has gained a sense of empowerment through this new skill.

"Out on the water it`s just cool. You feel like you`re just gliding along and that you can just go wherever you want," Larson said.

The sailing center also has scholarship opportunities, providing free sailing lessons to low-income children.

"We want to make Lake Michigan accessible to everybody and not let any economic barriers stop them from getting out on the water and sailing," Jaberg said.

And on such a hot day, it's important to keep these young sailors cool!

"We are having them drink lots of water. We provide bottled water for the kids," Jaberg said.

"If you took the water right now it would be really cold and it feels really good if you put it on your forehead," nine-year-old Rosa Rivera said.

As the children enjoyed the breeze off the lake, they're beginning a hobby that can stick with them for a lifetime.

For more information on programs at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center log onto