As sailing enthusiasts, the members of Highland Yacht Club provide both financial and personal support to nautical related causes in our community. Through our participation in organizations such as the Canadian Yachting Association and Sailing Ontario our membership fees help provide support for our Olympic sailors, youth training programs and programs for disabled sailors.
When special events occur, such as the visit of the Tall Ships, Highland members form teams that host the officers and crew of the visiting vessels and assure that they have a memorable and successful visit to Toronto. Beyond that, individual members have used their boats, their sailing skills and their enthusiasm to raise funds for a great variety of non-sailing causes such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Easter Seals, Heart and Stroke and many other organizations. Our members are also involved with local service clubs and frequently use our clubhouse for meetings and events.
For every Highland member, the most gratifying community event is our annual, Goodwill Day at Highland. On a special day each summer, rain or shine, Highland members open their club and their hearts to the residents of New Leaf. New Leaf is a wonderful organization that provides a home, counseling and life skill training to individuals who have difficulty coping with the pressures of our society.
The issues could be physical, emotional or mental; but New Leaf takes in those who have difficulty finding help through other organizations. Goodwill Day is something that all New Leaf clients look forward to each year. Starting early, we prepare our club and our boats for their visit. Some members dress up like clowns; we hire a band to provide music, we decorate our club and we provide a barbeque lunch. Each year the local fire and police services attend with their equipment and they’re always a favorite of our visitors.
However, the highlight of the day is sailing on members’ boats. Each New Leaf resident is accompanied by an aide and the excitement is obvious from the moment they board. Depending on the circumstances and conditions, the time on the lake can be participatory from tailing a sheet, to taking the helm, or perhaps just a relaxing cruise along the base of the bluffs. Once back onshore, the party begins with the barbeque, the music, the clowns and the members of Highland Yacht Club laughing and joking with our guests and enjoying their company.
Being part of the Highland Yacht Club is being part of the community. And we all feel proud and privileged for the opportunity to help others.