-  To see the inherent desire to take risks channeled toward restoration       

- To see young risk-takers taking life-giving risks instead of detrimental ones

- To see adventurers become mentors

- To see success in risk-taking on the water translate to the development of entrepreneurs and leaders our communities need on the grid.


We work out this vision by strengthening mentorship through sailing.


off the grid onto the water

Access to one of our city’s finest assets often seems to be blocked by an invisible wall.  Some on the grid have never even seen the lake!  Others enjoy the public lakeshore, but only a special few seem to be able to get onto the water.

We strengthen redemptive relationships through life-giving risk!

We want to give all our risk-takers access to our nearest natural environment—free from gang lines and turf wars. We know that if we strengthen a young person’s risk-taking muscle on the water, we build into their ability to take risks in the kind of entrepreneurship and innovation needed to solve some of the biggest problems in our communities.

Slow down! Be quiet! Focus!



Without an outlet to take risks they find detrimental ways to satisfy the desire for adventure. The need to take risks burns within many of us, but in the confines of the city we get: Slow down! Be quiet! Focus!


Kin City speaks about seizing the wind with Dr. Sunitha Chandy. Dr. Chandy is a licensed clinical psychologist who sits on the board of Carpe Ventus. Listen in as she talks about the character building elements of risk taking, building bridges and adventure. And hear why she's so excited to be a part of Carpe Ventus.


Why Sailing?

What does this “sport for the affluent” have to offer those who have really serious obstacles to overcome?  As sailors, the possibilities we see are endless: Riding the wind and waves has a way of changing perspective --uncovering potential, challenging assumptions and releasing dreams.  It is a way we find freedom. 

Carpe Ventus does not stop at new perspective alone; we create space for learning to seize the wind while connecting with the wealth of real life experience found in unexpected new friends, even those from a different side of the city.  Our unique, collaborative challenges produce vital skills for venturing into new environments, cross-cultural relationships and community leadership.

It was a wonderful team-building experience I’m looking forward to the next time!

I really enjoyed myself and hope to come back to sail. But moreover I hope to see you guys again.

On the drive here many youth were saying, ‘I’m not getting on that boat.’ On the way home (if they don’t fall asleep) they will be talking about how it felt on the boat. THANK YOU!

How do we do this?

In Partnership

A small taste of the joy on the water.

Mentoring relationships are undeniably significant.  There are over 140 mentoring organizations in the city of Chicago doing great work with thousands of mentors and mentees.   They are often looking for ways to get new experiences and build new skills.   Carpe Ventus combines the inherent power of wind sports with this vast opportunity to develop young innovators and leaders.

Not just a sailboat ride

Our goal goes far beyond creating exposure trips. We develop great sailing coaches who know the obstacles that keep our risk-taker from flourishing and who know how to build assets needed to expand their potential through the experience on the water.  Our coaches are trained to understand their own identity development, racial and cultural barriers, positive youth development and risk evaluation to make them effective guides equipped to nurture mentoring relationships making them stronger and more effective.  We focus on actively connecting the challenge, growth and achievement created through wind sports to the skills needed to thrive back on the grid.

Value from start to finish

Our introductory sailing events give participants the chance to steer and crew a sailboat.  Even in our intro sails we actively teach key life principles.  For those who want to become wind-riders, Carpe Ventus classes explore the correlation between skills learned on the water and life principles needed to thrive in challenging situations --not just get pushed around by the wind.  

Carpe Ventus Sailing & Swimming

Mentor::Strong SAILS

We are about the work of mentorship.  It is our desire to leverage what we're good at for the benefit of the youth in our city and we do this through partnership.   Our innovative curriculum makes tangible connections between what we do on the water and everyday life on the grid.  Click to learn more!

team-building sails

Why stay on the grid when you can get out on the water?  What if your team-building experience could have a direct social impact?  We use a range of curriculum and team-building activities which we can tailor to your team's schedule and priorities and best of all, it provides access to our city's youth and mentors! Click to learn more!


Carpe Ventus continues the adventure in the off season through play-based swim lessons.  Swimming in a controlled environment is a great way to strengthen confidence and the risk muscle for adventuring out on the lake.  Mentor::Strong SWIM aims to:

  • To teach youth swimming skills, ranging from basic survival swimming to multiple strokes, treading and advanced swimming techniques

  • To empower youth to confront their fear of water and the lake so they are better equipped for the sailing season and life after Carpe Ventus

  • To have fun! Showing youth that being on, in, or under the water can be a blast, opening the lakefront and waters everywhere for them to enjoy.



Chicago is a patchwork; each neighborhood has its own identity and characteristics.  What if instead of being divided by neighborhoods we could bring those pieces together into a unified whole? What if we could all have access to the value each unique part brings?

To be able to do this we need to learn how to communicate across cultural lines, even when this communication is hard and risky.  Getting to know ourselves and one another can be messy but it's worth it when it moves us all towards a more vital and healthy Chicago.  

Carpe Ventus means seize the wind and the wind is blowing in the direction of change and hope in Chicago.   Step out, take the risk. Know yourself. Know your city.

Our full-day workshop will explore:

  • Brief History of Justice & Injustice in Chicago

  • Personal Identity Development

  • Mentoring & Developmental Assets

  • Becoming Curious Learners

  • Ethnic Identity & Microaggressions

  • Signs of Compassion Fatigue

  • Tools for Sustainable Compassion Work


Risky Business

In partnership with Artesian Collaborative we have developed a specialized version of this training for business departments and teams.

"Risky Business" is an engaging six-hour training that provides organizations with the tools and structure to address difficult conversations of diversity and inclusion, utilizing the unique insights and assets they possess.

Learn more below if you are:

  • Ready for a diversity training that doesn’t leave employees feeling disconnected, judged, angry, misunderstood or afraid of making a misstep with colleagues or clients.

  • Eager for a helpful framework that actively engages the deeply personal issues of identity like gender, race, class, sexuality, politics or religion.

  • Willing to embrace the risk in order to move beyond inhibited communication, uncomfortably awkward interactions and the status quo.

What people are saying about Carpe Ventus Groundwork Sessions

"Going into the Groundworks training, I did not think it would be much different than other social justice seminars or learning experiences. I thought that I would be made to feel guilty for the privileges I have been afforded throughout my life based solely on my appearance and the life situation that I was born into. After all, everything I have been told thus far has been focused on how I am privileged where others are not and this always left me with a sense of guilt because I had no clue what to do about it. After Groundworks, I felt like the cultural and personal identity I have developed over my lifetime was validated by the facilitators as well as the other participants. I found a safe space to talk about my experiences, both negative and positive without the fear of having these experiences devalued by others. I felt more confident in my ability to communicate across cultural lines as well as build stronger connections with other people. As a graduate student in a counseling program at a school where social justice is a primary focus, I felt that Groundworks was an exceptional resource that not only my classmates should experience, but anybody who wants to be a better human being to other human beings." - Alexa, Masters Student

"In preparing for Groundworks the reading material made me realize how little effort I've made to consider the notion of institutional racism, white privilege or reparations. The material was tremendously challenging and made me really nervous about the event itself and the vulnerability created by my own ignorance. Each exercise and session built on the next to create a striking awareness of ethnic differences and the lack of broad accessibility to developmental assets that I took for granted. The sessions were lead with tactfulness and intelligent sensitivity to the topic. I came away with a clearer conviction driving my passion to share in efforts to close these gaps. Thanks for the rich eye-opening experience!" Tom - Carpe Ventus Volunteer

"I found the Groundworks training to be extremely enlightening in better understanding the history and common misconceptions of racial relations and very useful in being a manager and mentor in a diverse city.  The training goes deeper than most diversity training and included many powerful moments for attendees of a variety of backgrounds and race.  It is clear that our city and nation can never fully heal and move forward unless we stop talking about the need to have a conversation and find ways to actually have deep conversations like these.   Groundworks offers a unique opportunity to openly share your background and learn from others with different life experiences in an compassionate environment while also showing the power of not being afraid to step through uncomfortable moments to share and learn.  I highly recommend for anyone who wants to be a more understanding and caring human being. - Mark, Founder of Ten Count Consulting LLC &Member of Year Up Chicago Leadership Council

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