Parents Can't Help It...We're So Proud of Them–Even if They're a Bunch of Blockheads.
By: Bill Goggins CEO Harken
July starts Monday. In the US that means Independence Day which is kind of like Midsummer celebrations in northern Europe. Here on Pewaukee Lake near the Harken headquarters, our junior regattas are in high gear. My two oldest, (boys) are out sailing like mad. They’ve also been Harken Blockheads since we started the program 2.5 years ago. For those unfamiliar, Blockheads is a youth program for young sailors, from Opti green fleeters to college age, to develop better boat maintenance, rigging and on-water self-sufficiency skills. We do it for two reasons: 1. We want to pass our own love of the sport on to the next generation by helping imprint the confidence and grit sailing uniquely imparts. 2. We want that generation to think of Harken not as a brand for their parents…but one with which they connect as well.
The most gratifying thing about starting this program is listening to the sailors cheer when you say we built Blockheads to reduce the need for helicopter parents. And all the while, in the back of the room you see the parents doing the same thing. More than other sports, sailing requires self-reliance. We hope Blockheads can help kids develop the skills coaches and the sailing programs need them to have. We don’t like seeing parents washing boats or wet sanding blades. That stuff makes a sailor a sailor.
We’re really proud of what Blockheads has achieved. There are now 1300 members and they are worldwide. The program is being actively supported by Harken people in 8 countries. The program website, harkenblockheads.com is available in 3 languages. Anyone can become a Blockhead there—Free! You will also find more than 50 videos and stories; covering rig and tuning improvements, gel coat restoration and repair; knots and splicing, advice from Olympic sailors, nutrition and health/safety tips and more.
This Summer we’ll be attending regattas and signing up Blockheads too. Be sure to come by and get your Blockheads welcome kit filled with free stuff. Hope you enjoy July, and that your crew will join Blockheads today!
Many thanks for your valiant efforts: 'Chad the Impaler' Hallblade, Wendy 'Da Wrecker' Vertz, Capt. Bill Longshanks, Dave the Automator and Michael 'Knuckles' Barry