Originally, there were no junior members as such in the club. But in 1895, the constitution was changed so that “Any boy under the age of nineteen may be eligible to membership in a Junior Division, subject in each case to such conditions as the Board of Directors may prescribe.” Five boys were found worthy of membership.
In 1902, the constitution was again changed, starting senior membership at 19 and junior membership below that age.
The Juniors had no organization of their own until 1947. In that year, under the guidance of Commodore Isaac Dawson, provision was made for the Juniors to elect their own flag officers, have their own meetings and run their own social activities.
Junior activities at NBYC received a great boost with the organization of the “Junior Sailing Group” in 1952. Walter Rothschild, a long time member of the club and an avid sailor, conceived the idea of a sailing class, or a “Junior Sailing Group” as he called it. He suggested to club directors that he underwrite the operation of a sailing class for young people to be open to anyone in the area to join. His suggestion was speedily acted upon, and the services of Herbert Wessling were obtained. Mr. Wessling had considerable experience and had a great teaching ability. A fleet of One Tens and Tech Dinghies was acquired, financed partially by interested club members and partly by the club itself. With the combined work of Mr. Wessling and Mr. Rothschild, the Junior Sailing Group was a great success from the beginning.
For years, Mr. Rothschild was the active leader and policy maker. Later the program became a club enterprise, supervised by a committee set up for that purpose. Mr. Wessling continued to teach until 1966 when the press of other duties made it necessary for him to resign. Bruce Nourjian, who had been with the group since the beginning, ably took his place.
After Mr. Rothschild’s death, a group of his close friends, headed by Harold Hodgkinson of Boston, with Alexander Forbes as South Dartmouth liaison, suggested that a fitting memorial be contributed to him in South Dartmouth. Contributions were received from prominent yachtsmen from Florida to Maine, and also supplemented by a generous gift from the Rothschild family. The contributions made it possible to build and equip a junior clubroom and classroom, which has been used by the Junior Sailing Group and Junior Yacht Club members for their activities and has been of great benefit to the club, juniors and seniors alike.
Currently, a team of excellent instructors provide sailing lessons and coaching to approximately 175 children of all ages in a fleet of Optimist Dinghies, 420s and Mercury keelboats.