Sailor of the Week - May 6 - May 12
Few can say they have as many ways to positively influence children quite like Amy Zang of Alexandria, Va. As owner of the sailing school at Washington Sailing Marina since 1994 and sailing director since 1988, Amy has successfully used the sport of sailing to teach life-long lessons to diverse youth groups over the past 20 years.
Amy determined that sailing was her calling at the age of 12, when she first jumped into a Sunfish as a summer camper at the local YMCA in North Hampton, Mass. For Amy, sailing was all about fun and pure entertainment since day one on the water. She proved to be a fast learner and worked up the ladder as a junior counselor and later as waterfront director. After college, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she continues to work as a special education teacher at the elementary school level. Amy has also joined the teacher training department as an adjunct professor at George Mason University. Amy has combined her professional expertise in special education with her love for and knowledge of sailing. Amy works with students who have some form of a learning disability, physical limitation, or are at-risk in general. Through sailing activities, Amy’s students develop self confidence through team building exercises. Her goal is to find new ways to incorporate her teaching efforts with the marina. She spends time along the Potomac River with her students where they learn about the environment, and how to keep the river clean. “I get motivated when I see the results from what we do with these kids,” mentioned Amy. “It feels good to get letters from parents who notice the progress their kids are making. My passion for sailing is directly proportional to the lives that I touch through teaching sailing.”
Amy loves working with her staff almost as much as teaching. She has an “open house” policy with her staff during the summer at her personal residence in Alexandria. “I’ve always felt comfortable welcoming staff to my home during the summer. It gives us a good chance to build staff camaraderie,” said Amy. Her community based sailing program expects approximately 1,200 campers this season from May through October, including 30 seasonal employees.