Stephanie's Heroes: John Sponski

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

July 1, 2013

An Orange County man is spending his summer teaching kids from the Boys and Girls Club how to sail. Although, John Sponski loves the time spent with students on Lake Anna in Louisa, he says this program is about much more than just sailing.

For six years John Sponski has been bringing kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Orange to Lake Anna in Louisa.

"It's fun especially when there are a lot of waves," said Jaela Lawson, sailing student.

He's teaching them how to sail.

"I really think it's one of the most fun things I've ever done, said Chloe Paris, sailing student.

Sponski has showed dozens of kids the ins and outs of sailing and keeps coming back every summer.

"I guess because I see what happens to the kids after one summer. What they're learning in the sailing program is how to work together as a crew. They're also learning about individual leadership and they're also learning about taking responsibility for themselves when they're sailing," John Sponski, Sailing Instructor.

For Caleb Barnes, learning from John Sponski is what made him want to become a junior instructor.
He's one of the main reasons. I look up to him and it seems like he looks up to me in some things," said Caleb Barnes, Jr. Sailing Instructor.

Sponski makes sure his students know how to do it all like preparing the sailboats like the Butterfly and Dragon Fly, to getting them into the water and knowing how to catch the best wind while on the lake.

"He's been pretty amazing," said Barnes.

"They really have fun. They race and they cut one another off and they steal the wind. So it's fun for them," said Sponski.

Although, many of his students say John Sponski is a hero, he doesn't think so.

"No I'm just out here having fun with the kids. I like getting wet. I like seeing them come back in with smiles," said Sponski.

Thanks to Mr. Sponski, many of these kids have picked up a new hobby and learned some important life lessons all while catching a good sail.

The sailing program is sponsored by the Orange County Yacht Club. The club provides boats, supplies and meals for the young sailors.

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