A sea of smiles

Long Cove Yacht Club members treat children to a day on the water

These children from the Boys & Girls Club were rewarded for good behavior with a cruise around Hilton Head Island with Long Cove Yacht Club members.As the 46 excited children gathered on the dock at Long Cove Yacht Club for a group photo, there was a little concern when the dock began to lower into the water from the weight it was supporting.

But that was the only moment of concern for the members of the Yacht Club and the children from the Boys & Girls Club who were there to get a very special reward for their good behavior over the summer at the Hilton Head center.

In June, Long Cove Yacht Club members sponsored their fifth annual day out on the water. Members of the Yacht Club donate their time and boats to take members of the Boys & Girls Club for a cruise around Hilton Head. After the boat ride, the kids returned and were treated to a cookout with all of the fixings.

The event began when the Yacht Club was looking for a way to give back to the community. It paired up with the Boys & Girls Club to give kids the chance to experience nature and take children — many of whom have never experienced a boat ride — out for the day.

“We really love giving back. The kids always enjoy this and we enjoy doing it,” said Ned Kight, a captain on one of the boats.

As the children boarded the boats, Chuck Sieber, who sits on the board at the Yacht Club, gave them a little direction. “Remember, your captain is your boss and you have to listen to what he says,” said Sieber. “No one has ever had to walk the plank … don’t be the first!”

The captains of the 10 boats going out that day agreed that the best part of the event is seeing the reaction of the kids. And react they did. Going through the wake of other boats was likened to riding a roller coaster by one child and one little girl thought that it was “the best thing ever.”

Osprey, pelicans and jumping fish kept their attention. But what they really wanted was to spot a dolphin, which made an appearance shortly into the trip.

Seeing the dolphins “was cool and awesome,” said Valerie Rosales, 8, as she smiled and gave two thumbs up. “I’ve never seen a dolphin that close before.”