A Day On the Lake

Evan Alexander, Lake Michigan, and a unique job.


Anna Wexler and Claire Brache

A day on the lake, with the sails high in the sky and the sun beating down, would be an    ideal day for Evan Alexander (11).

“Every summer I would go out out to the lake, and I’d see sailboats out there… They asked me if I wanted to learn how to sail, and then I took a class and that’s basically how I started.”

Alexander has been sailing boats on Lake Michigan since he was six. His family owns a vacation home on the lake. This year Alexander was presented with a job opportunity of teaching young kids how to sail on the lake, for five weeks, with the South Haven Yacht Club. The kids ranged from 7-15 years old with all varying sailing capabilities.

“The first couple days we went through and we taught them the basics of how to sail… Then we teach them how to set up the boats,” Alexander said.

These lessons involved hands-on learning of how to operate the boats. Starting with knowing all the names of the places on the ship and knowing all the secrets of the lake, Alexander prepped the kids for the open water.  Once the students were thought to be ready, Alexander sent them out on the lake, following close behind in a motorboat, to ensure no kid got left in the water.

“Depending on the age group and the level which they’re at, we take them out on different boats and we just see how they do, really.”

The art of teaching the kids how to sail no doubt involved give and take, making sure the kids were safe yet enjoying themselves.

For Alexander, sailing wasn’t just a job opportunity. Growing up with the sport and practicing it often, his love for voyaging out on the water went deeper than a summer moneymaker. Alexander finds enjoyment in the fact that anything can happen at sea: the wind rushing through the boat, the possibility of tipping… It’s all part of the fun for Alexander.

“It’s kind of like that thrill of knowing that there’s always a risk when you’re out on the    water…” Alexander said.

Knowing it’s just him and the sails on the open water makes Alexander even more excited, and to share and pass on his passions with kids was an experience for him.

If nothing interferes, Alexander is ready to continue this amazing job opportunity next summer.