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Batavia business owner ready to step aboard and teach life skills in youth sailing program

By Virginia Kropf
Becky Almeter
Becky Almeter at the helm.
Submitted Photo

When Becky Almeter isn’t at the helm of her Batavia family business as new owner of Hodgins Engraving, she’s at the helm of the family’s sailboat.

An East Bethany resident and daughter of Bob and Mary Lu Hodgins of Alexander, Almeter has also stepped up to lead the youth sailing class this summer, sponsored by the Oak Orchard Yacht Club, where her father is beginning his third year as commodore.

Sailing has been in Almeter’s blood since she was a child, when her parents took the family on trips all over the world.

“I grew up on the docks of Oak Orchard Yacht Club,” Almeter said. “When my parents first got our family sailboat and brought it to Oak Orchard, we were there all the time living aboard during the summer. It was our home base, and from there our family sailed all over Lake Ontario and beyond, including a trip to the Bahamas during which my two brothers and I were homeschooled on the boat.” 

Sailing is not only fun, relaxing and a great way to spend a sunny day, but there are other important reasons Oak Orchard Yacht Club at Point Breeze has sponsored a long-standing youth sailing program, Almeter said.

Children ages 9 to 18 are taught the basics of sailing and water safety, have fun and create lasting memories in a day camp setting, she said. 

A member of the very first youth sailing class in 1992, Almeter. took the youth sailing program for several years as a student, and then earned her U.S. Sailing Certificate to teach, returning as instructor for several years.

After leaving the area for college, she completed her U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s 6-pack commercial license and worked on the water in various capacities. She has sailed on Lake Ontario, in Florida and the Caribbean, cruising and racing, she said.

Almeter and her husband anticipate spending much of their summer on the creek with their five children. Oldest son Joe has been in the sailing program for the past three summers, and this year he will be joined by his sister Abby.

“I am excited about directing the program, because it was such an integral part of my childhood, and I hope my children can have a part of that same experience,” Almeter said. “My memories of my childhood at Oak Orchard Yacht Club were fun, carefree summers spent swimming, sailing, going to Brown’s Berry Patch for slushies, candy and ice cream, running around playing games on the club lawn and on the playground. I didn’t know it then, but while I was having all that fun, I was creating deep bonds with my friends, learning confidence and self-sufficiency, learning how to read weather, how to feel comfortable on open water, general ‘rules of the road’ for navigating creek traffic and countless other smaller things that kids absorb through engaged activity. 

“In this busy day and age, when it’s a much more difficult time to be a kid, I feel like this program is able to give kids back a little more time and space — to turn off the screens, and step away from devices — to simply be kids a little bit longer,” she said. “Having fun, learning skills hands-on, being active and engaging in teamwork, all the things that enrich their minds and bodies in a back-to-basics way.”

The youth sailing program is a win-win for both parents and kids, she said. It builds many life skills, including teamwork, weather and wind awareness, knot tying, boat handling and more. Also, it is a healthy activity that gets kids outside, while having tons of fun and making new friends. The program is an opportunity to provide an activity kids can enjoy for a lifetime, she said.

Oak Orchard Yacht Club is at 1103 Archbald Road, Waterport. Dates are July 8 to 12 and 15 to 19 for Session 1 and July 22 to 26 and July 29 to Aug. 2 for Session 2. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Campers bring their own lunch.

Instructors are U.S. Sailing certified with a low student-to-instructor ratio, and decide where to sail and take a lunch break each day, based on the weather and curriculum. They follow the latest safety guidelines, including a mandatory swim test for all campers.  Parents can often watch their young sailors from the pier at Point Breeze.

Cost is $460 for one session of 10 days or $685 for two sessions. Discounts available include a sibling discount, OOYC member discount and early registration discount by May 1. Families should contact the Yacht Club to discuss pricing.

Registration can be done online at and clicking on Youth Sailing from the top banner. Once registration is completed, an invoice and any necessary paperwork will be sent by OOYC. A current medical form, waiver and safety agreement must be completed for each camper.

“I am truly honored to be leading the sailing program this year, and am looking forward to a safe, fun program for all our sailors,” Almeter said.

More information can also be obtained by contacting her at 585-813-7259 or email

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