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Quality Improvement Initiative



The mission of Sail Champion is to bring together sailing, history and community for enriching nautical experiences. Sail Champion uses great adventure to cultivate relationships that build critical developmental assets that support youth.










About SAIL Champion


In 2008, Mr. Henry Barkhausen of Harbor Springs, MI donated the cutter Champion to Maritime Heritage Alliance. Since 2009, the 39 foot Champion has been home to the Sail Champion program. Through participation in Sail Champion, volunteers and youth will have the opportunity to learn, teach, and grow in a supportive community.  According to the National Conference of State Legislators – “Experience matters more than we ever thought during adolescence, especially experiences within relationships. The more and varied relationships a young person can maintain within family, peers, school, work, or in their community, the better positioned they will be to achieve a healthy and balanced adulthood. Experiences during adolescence can largely determine future success as adults.”  
Through participation in a one to five day program aboard cutter Champion, youth ages 12-18 will work alongside peers, professional crew and volunteer staff from June through August to learn how to sail in a format that teaches teamwork, self-awareness and resilience. Sail Champion’s skills based/challenge format, facilitates cooperation, communication and the development of trust among a group of peers.


Needs Of Young People

Sail Champion is utilizing the research avaliable through the Search Institute to inform our work with young people. The Developmental Assets® are 40 research-based, positive experiences and qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults.   
Over time, studies of more than 5 million young people consistently show that the more assets that young people have, the greater chance to prevent engagment in high-risk behaviors and engage in opportunities to thrive.  







How can you help?


  • Volunteer to help maintain Champion
  • Volunteer on Champion with the youth (training and background check required)
  • Sponsor a group, youth, or other aspect of the program.
  • Tell other people about Sail Champion
  • Charter Champion
  • Donate to Maritime Heritage Alliance's Sail Champion program  
  • Contact us, share your ideas

Sponsor Sail Champion






Quality Improvement Initiative

Sail Champion

As Champion Celebrates her tenth year in service to the young people of the Grand Traverse area, Maritime Heritage Alliance has engaged in a Quatlity Improvment Initiatve (QII). Through the QII process, we have surveyed past program partners, volunteers, recieved feedback from youth and reseached best industry practices to move Sail Champion in a direction that serves the greater good of the youth of the Grand Traverse area. 

Historically, Sail Champion worked exclusively with social services partners to refer youth to our program. We’ve expanded partnerships with organizations that enroll youth in our programming to include:

  • social services partners
  • community partners



This expansion allows us to increase the overall number of youth benefiting from programming and supports services for youth that otherwise couldn’t afford such an opportunity.


The focus of Sail Champion is building resilience through quality developmental relationships, challenging experiences and accuriring new skills. Search Institute expresses building key assests as:


Express Care: Show me that I matter to you

Challenge Growth: Push me to keep getting better

Provide Support: Help me complete tasks and achieve goals 

Share Power: Treat me with respect and give me a say 

Expand Possibilities: Connect me with people and places that broaden my world 



Maritime Heritage Alliance
13268 S West Bay Shore Dr
Traverse City, MI 49684