Corporate Team Building Supports Reach The World - Chicago
by Ashley Metz

Students learn the parts of a sailboat

The Educational Nonprofit, “Reach the World”, which links students and teachers in under-funded public schools in Chicago to online journeys, is hosting an innovative corporate sailing outing, the BIG Team Regatta ( The regatta pits area organizations against each other in pursuit of glory, bragging rights and the opportunity to help two great non-profits, Reach the World - Chicago and the Judd Goldman Junior Sailing Program.
Aldebaran, RTW-Chicago’s vessel

Businesses show their support through sponsorship or participation in the BIG Team Regatta. Companies enter a four-person team - no sailing experience is necessary - and donate the minimum of $4,000, all of which directly benefits Reach the World and the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation. Competing companies will sail a J-22 emblazoned with the company logo. Each team will be paired with an experienced coach who will provide basic lessons of sailing, seamanship and racing, and then race with the team. Corporate participants benefit in the same way as youth and disabled sailors: team and confidence building, breaking through boundaries, and exposure to activities and situations not normally encountered.
The inaugural BIG Team Regatta - Chicago takes place September 8, 2006.

“The story of how Reach the World was conceived is an interesting one,” notes Sam, of Boatingshots. “As undergraduates, these kids got together and decided they wanted to do something different after graduation. They wanted to start something that would instigate change and growth.”

“We met on the sailing team at Northwestern,” noted the RTW team. “We’d all had some kind of experience in education - tutoring underprivileged kids at local schools, spending a summer as a camp counselor or a sailing instructor, or studying learning and cognition at the university. It seemed obvious that kids learn well from stories and adventures and we all talked about how much we would have loved a program that linked education and a sailing adventure when we were kids.
Tracking the boat on maps helps kids discover different parts of the world

We thought about ways to integrate these things and how we could create an organization with the most meaning and reach. Through experiences in college, traveling and sailing, we appreciated the need to understand world cultures and geography, especially for today’s kids growing up in a globalizing world. The stark contrast between those needs and the situation in inner-city schools was obvious. We agreed that elementary and middle school-aged kids could learn a lot from following a sailboat journey as it visited foreign shores; and the kids who could benefit the most were the kids who did not have the means to travel.
During our junior year, the ideas were mixing together and starting to take a shape. During our senior year, we began to start the organization. We’d have meetings at one of our houses. Eventually, meetings with the Field Museum, mentors in Chicago, or Kellogg professors prevented us from going to sailing practice or class, but for the most part, we talked, thought, met, learned, and called people. Then there came the serious discussions. ‘Are we looking for jobs or aren’t we?’ And that’s when we knew we were either in it, and in it together, or not in it at all.
Preparing to bake a USA cookie, tracking the journey with chocolate chips

We incorporated under the name Tradewinds Educational Resources. As the program was forming, we were introduced to Reach the World, the New York-based nonprofit we are now a part of. We met with their Executive Director, Heather Halstead, and discovered that we shared the same mission and goals. Right after we graduated (Spring, 2005), we became Reach the World-Chicago in order to work with Heather’s existing and proven model to bring our mutual mission to the Chicago area.”

Ashley Metz works in development for Reach the World-Chicago and is raising money for RTW on a team for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.

For more information: BIG Team Regatta, call 1-888-GEL-TEAM or visit or,,