Together Again

A Letter from our Executive Director

David Foster


On the train to Chicago, I kept checking the weather because I really did not want to call off the sailing event that October day. I was committed, on the train to host a Mentor:Strong sailing event with Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN), but the weather forecast was looking questionable.

There is a special place in my heart for YMEN and Mike Trout, the founder and executive director. The vision and mission of Carpe Ventus was inspired by my years in Lawndale and seeing first hand some of the many challenges facing kids and teens growing up in under-resourced situations. Mike Trout has been pouring his life into walking alongside young people and leading a powerful ministry of mentoring in the heart of Lawndale. I am always inspired when spending time with him and YMEN youth.  It brings back memories of sailing with them through the years and of the internship we ran with five YMEN students who served their peers from other groups as hosts and sailing instructors.

Mike Trout loves sailing with YMEN students and it gives me a ton of joy to see him enjoying sailing and taking the experience to the next level.  He is so welcoming and reassuring to the students, he makes insightful and personal connections between the sailing experience, the curriculum we cover and where their group is in life and relationships. I always feel really encouraged/envisioned and it seems like Mike and the YMEN students leave refreshed.

I was excited to see the forecasts headed in a good direction as I got closer to Union Station. My first appointment that day was to meet with a couple of board members from a foundation along with Tom Stockwell who is one of our super-committed, sailing-event-leading volunteers. Tom moved to Chicago, found Carpe Ventus through our Groundworks registration page on Eventbrite, bought a ticket and came to the training session before talking with any of us. We learned that about two years before his recent move to Chicago, he actually wrote out a vision for mentoring through sailing which is very similar to the vision of Carpe Ventus! He quickly became one of the key volunteers and just recently accepted our invitation to join the Carpe Ventus Board of Directors.

Tom, Mike, the YMEN students and I had a great time sailing and talking about some of the deeper things in life. It was a powerful encouragement for me after a year of significant and challenging transitions. There were times this year when we thought and prayed seriously about bringing CV to a close, but felt it was not time for that.  With our new structure, which depends mostly on volunteers, we were able to host Mentor:Strong sailing events with 96 youth and mentors! We also provided training for new Carpe Ventus volunteers as well as mentors from other organizations and community members. New life is springing up where it seemed like there might be an end.

Thank you for staying with us through all the transitions, ups and downs. We are excited in the planning and preparing for 2019. Please consider partnering with us in any way you can. We need your partnership to continue giving at-risk youth access to life-giving experiences off the grid and on the water. Join us by investing in the next generation--strengthening mentorship through Carpe Ventus!

In partnership,

David Foster | Executive Director, Carpe Ventus

Erin Foster