One local favorite capsized twice in his kayak. Of the fifteen windsurfers who entered a race around the Island, two finished. Sailboats called for a minimum of three hands: one on the tiller, one on the main sheet and one on the bilge pump.
All in all, there probably were easier ways to raise money for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.
Yet last Saturday’s Windsurfing Challenge through wind and waves in Island waters proved the most successful yet, raising more than fourteen thousand dollars for the only umbrella social services organization on the Island. In the past, the annual challenge has raised less than ten thousand dollars.
Nevin Sayre, who founded the challenge twenty years ago (and who finished first Saturday on the round-the-Island course, a circuit of fifty five miles), realized that the same participants were showing up year after year. “We thought to grow the event, we had to include nonmotorized crafts,” he said.
Adding in kayakers and sailors, along with the additional funds they raised through pledges, resulted in a record effort for the challenge.
The event is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the organization’s main fundraiser, the Possible Dreams Auction, which last month raised five hundred fifteen thousand dollars through live and online auctions.
Yet every dollar helps at Community Services, which counts on private contributions to fund a fifth of its six million dollar annual budget. The organization serves about half the Vineyard’s year-round population with services that include mental health counseling, an array of early childhood services and nursing.
Hats off to the sailors, kayakers and windsurfers who got soaked for hours on end to raise money that will help their fellow Vineyarders. A suggestion, too, that Community Services start exploring smaller efforts to help supplement its Possible Dreams event and attract the private support needed for its worthwhile work.