Balboa Island Yacht Club: Run by Kids for Kids

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By Krista Schildwachter | NB Indy

Balboa Island Yacht Club members compete in a rowing race recently.  — Photos by Krista Schildwachter
Balboa Island Yacht Club members compete in a rowing race recently.
— Photos by Krista Schildwachter

As summer commences, a myriad of children’s camps have begun to appear throughout Newport Beach. However, many of Balboa Island’s younger residents prefer to participate in their own local organization, the Balboa Island Yacht Club.

Since this day camp’s founding by the Beek family in 1922, Balboa Island Yacht Club has been teaching children to be water proficient through exciting activities in the south bay front of Balboa Island.

Since then, BIYC’s strip of sand and water has been the source of fantastic memories and life-long friendships.

“You can tell BIYC is so special because of how strong our alumni community is. People who participated in the program 50 years ago still attend our banquets and are still friends. It is truly remarkable what an impact BIYC can have,” said member Kira Woods, 16.

 (left to right) BIYC members Kira Woods, 16, Elin Wolker, 15, Carah Reddin, 13, Isabel Hadley, 13, and Catherine Stevens, 12.
(left to right) BIYC members Kira Woods, 16, Elin Wolker, 15, Carah Reddin, 13, Isabel Hadley, 13, and Catherine Stevens, 12.

The club kicked off the 2013 summer season on June 24, and every Monday and Wednesday for the following eight weeks, the kids take to the water. Although being a Balboa Island resident is not a requirement, there are very few members who don’t live on the island.

Members, ages 6 to 16, will compete against others their age in many races including stand-up and regular paddle boarding, rowing, and swimming. Sailing is also an extra optional activity. First, second, and third place winners of every age and gender group are then awarded a ribbon at Thursday night’s award ceremony held at the Carroll Beek Community Center, next to the Balboa Island ferry.

Every other week, the club also holds themed potlucks and shows screens a family-friendly movie.

The group finishes out the year with a banquet, which includes food, dancing and trophies for the best overall scores in each event.

“For me, the most special part about BIYC was definitely the people I met. The bonds I made with my peers were honestly amazing. It was a great way to become close with kids who went to my school and others who I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet,” explained three-year member Ally Hadfield, 16.

Although BIYC is known for its close-knit group of children and the family-like atmosphere, there are many other things that make it unique. One of the special things about Balboa Island Yacht Club is that it is run by the older participants.

The teens in the 14 to 16 age group are in charge of the activities and planning, and spend countless hours keeping everything organized and running smoothly.

A few positions are elected by the kids the previous summer, including commodore, vice commodore, rear commodore, and secretary/treasurer. All staff positions have the task of helping out with the little ones, running meetings, dealing with finances, and more.

Mathew Ctvrtlik, the 15-year-old commodore of the club.
Mathew Ctvrtlik, the 15-year-old commodore of the club.

“I’ve been doing BIYC my whole life and it is pretty much my whole summer,” current commodore Matthew Ctvrlik, 15, said with a laugh. “The friends that you develop make it more special than any other club. Generally you don’t get the opportunity to meet new friends over the summer, but with BIYC you get a wide variety of cool people.”

The cost to join BIYC for the summer is $100, although registration has ended for this year. But this certainly won’t be the last summer for the Balboa Island Yacht Club. With many years of rich history in its past, and many more memories promised in its future, BIYC will forever be a life changing club. Newport Beach residents who participate in Balboa Island Yacht Club will always have fantastic times to reminisce upon.

“It’s a great club run by kids, for kids,” Elin Wolker, 15, said with a smile. “What else could you ask for?”

Club members round a corner during a recent rowing race.
Club members round a corner during a recent rowing race.

Krista Schildwachter is a junior attending Corona del Mar high school, and is a reporter for her school newspaper. She is interning for the Indy this summer.

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