They will be helping Jersey City teens ride the rough waves and sail through life, so to speak.
The event from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is a fundraiser for the "City Sail" program, operated by the New City Kids Organization (subsidiary of the New City Kids Church on Fairmount Avenue) in Jersey City, which teaches local teens sailing and other valuable life skills each summer.
"There are a lot of kids [in Jersey City who] live four blocks to a mile within some of the greatest waterways, but it could be a million miles, as far they are concerned," said church pastor Trevor Rubingh last week.
The goal is to raise $30,000 for the program's docking, maintenance and related expenses.
The Jersey City-based Liberty Yacht Club, which has donated the use of one of its boats this summer, is helping out at the fundraiser. Attendees will get $50 in casino chips to gamble with, and they will also have the opportunity to win prizes and food from local restaurants.
While initial ticket sales have been slow, with people saying they will pay at the door, the group is hopeful because a member of the yacht club has already given a $7,500 one-time donation.Most have never been on a boat
Rubingh said he was turned on to the idea of sailing several years ago when he joined Hoboken clergyman Tony Hinchliff on a sailing trip on the Hudson River.
"We have two great loves - love of the water and love of ministry in the city," said Hinchcliff. "Both of us thought 'why don't we put these two things together?' "
Rubingh and Hinchcliff got access to boats from the Manhattan Sailing Club, and local sailor Paul Duggan gave sailing instruction. Jersey City kids ages 14-18 began earning points for attendance and a new colored t-shirt for each new level of expertise.
The program runs Tuesday afternoons from July to August.
Rubingh said when the weather is bad, the kids learn all the fine points of sailing such as nautical terms and operating the boat.
For Rubingh, it has been interesting seeing young people spend their first time on a sailboat.
"It's intense. They've never been on a wobbly surface and they start praying out loud," said Rubingh with a laugh. "Most of the kids have never been on a boat, but they have an adventurous spirit."
Rubingh continued, "Before you know it, they want to find the biggest wave." Teen: 'It was like...Titanic'
Among those benefiting from the City Sail program has been Dominique Bradford, a 17-year old Ferris High student, who works as a performance arts teacher at New City Kids Church.
Bradford said he wasn't enthusiastic about being on the high seas of the Hudson.
"First time, it was kind of scary, the boat started tipping," said Bradford, "It was like it was going to be another episode of the Titanic."
Bradford said he soon gained confidence, and as he put it, "it helped him live life to the fullest." And now he is at the point where he one class away from getting a boating license allowing him to operate in the waters off Jersey City.
"How many teenagers can say they have a boating license?" said Bradford. "And I would rather have a boating license than a driving license." Liberty Yacht Club involved
In late 2006, Rubingh recalled riding his bike by the Liberty Marina in Liberty State Park.
"One of the guys working there showed me a sailboat in the marina," said Rubingh. "We struck up a conversation about City Sail and he introduced me to Jim O'Connor."
O'Connor is the commodore of the Liberty Yacht Club, a nonprofit organization formed in July 1998 to promote leisure boating on the lower Hudson River.
O'Connor said once he met with Rubingh, he proposed a fundraiser for the City Sail Program.
"It was the easiest decision to help to get a boat," said O'Connor. "It's important to get these kids off the concrete sidewalks and into the waters in their backyards."
But the most difficult part for O'Connor is raising the $30,000 that was set as a goal to reach. The $30,000 according to Rubingh will enable the City Sail program to have their own slip at the Liberty Marina as well as maintenance fees for the boat that is being donated to them through the Liberty Yacht Club.
O'Connor said, "Right now, ticket sales are slow for the fundraiser, since a lot of people are saying they want to buy tickets at the door."
O'Connor pointed out there has been ample advertising for the fundraiser on the City Sail website (http://citysailyouth.org), the Liberty Yacht Club website (http://www.libertyyachtclub.org/citySail.htm), and on a Downtown Jersey City-based Internet bulletin board. Reservations can be made by sending a tax deductible check in the amount of $125 for each person attending to: New City Kids (Attn: City Sail), 240 Fairmount Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306. Checks can also be dropped off at the Liberty House Restaurant address to City Sail or at the City Sail website. You must at least 21 years of age to attend the Casino Night. For more information, call (201) 915-9896. Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com