Sailing Center Success Celebrated
By Anne McKay Garris
What does it take for a non-profit enterprise to succeed?
"Lots of people, working together," according to Joe Calio, organizer of the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key.
As hundreds of supporters gathered on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the new Joe Calio Veranda - a second story addition to the Center, Calio was the center of attention. A succession of government officials and Sailing Center officials, standing in front of a street sign proclaiming "Joe Calio Way," complimented Calio on the eight years of constant growth and improvement at the Center as a result of his leadership.
When Calio rose to respond, he gave his participation one short sentence and went on to name dozens of others who had a hand in making the success possible.
First, he stated the statistics of growth, starting with an increase in membership from 20 members to 450. He told of the Sailability program serving 35 physically challenged sailors with 9 especially built boats available for their use. He reported a boat rental program with over 65 boats available. "And," he added, "We went from no youth teams to two Optimist Pram fleets for 8 to 12-year-olds and one 420 sailboat team for 12 to 16-year-olds, plus over 900 participants in summer sailing camp in the last two years alone."
In the eight years since the City of Clearwater signed the papers to partner with the 301c3 organization named the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, a combination of city officials and employees, local businesses, energetic and active members of the CCSC board of directors, sailing enthusiasts and volunteering members have worked diligently to make exciting things happen.
Wanting to share the glory, Calio named as many of these as he could in response to the accolades coming his way for his leadership and vision as "granddaddy of the program."
There to help celebrate were a number of city and county officials, members of the Clearwater Yacht Club, sailors, CCSC board members, parents of sailors who work hard to make the Center a success, especially the youth programs. The party atmosphere was "island casual" with an oil drum symphony playing and an elaborate cook-out meal served, provided by the across the street neighbor, the Sheraton Sand Key.
" Isn't this great?" asked one participant, eyeing the sailing activity on the water beside the Center. "With so many activities and facilities falling by the wayside in the current financial climate, it's good to see something going so right."
The new Calio Veranda provides covered shelter for classroom space, both above and below, as well as outdoor space for people and organizations to rent for parties and other functions.
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