Avid sailor Katherine “Kate” Wilson ’08 was honored on Feb. 3 as “Boater of the Year” by the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association (RITMA) for her extensive youth outreach in a ceremony. Wilson, founder of the marketing and design firm Rising T, devotes her free time to coaching high school sailing and conducting youth marine adventure camps during the summers in Newport, R.I.
“This award is really for all the volunteers who are getting kids on the water,” Wilson said after accepting the award from Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. “To create life-long sailors we need to start with our youth.”
RIMTA issues the Boater of the Year award to an individual whose contributions have benefitted the longevity of boating throughout Rhode Island and the public. “We applaud Kate Wilson for embracing the challenge of getting more young people engaged in our sport and approaching that task from a new and inventive angle,” Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA, said during the ceremony. “Clearly, her approach is working to get more Newport-area youth excited about being on the water.”
While at Hobart and William Smith, Wilson majored in architectural studies and minored in mathematics. She was a member of the sailing team and earned the Christine Jurczak ’00 Sailing Coach’s Award in 2005 for her rapid growth in the sport. “Sailing was such an important part of my life growing up and I definitely wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t sailed growing up and in college,” Wilson said. “It taught me hard work, loyalty and passion. It taught me things that are not just important on the water, but professionally.”
Before joining efforts to revitalize local youth sailing programs, Wilson reflected on the formative time spent with mentors like HWS Sailing Coach Scott Iklé ’84. “I wanted give back in honor of those coaches. I thought it was my turn,” she said.