Meet Our Staff ...
Ben Ferris Program Director
AKA: Señor Ferris, Benito
Ben did NOT learn to sail here; it didn’t exist when he started. Ben learned to sail from his dad and has been sharing his passion for sailing with others here, at TACS, for 25 years. Ben chose to become an instructor, and now director, because he loves teaching, and teaching sailing is a perfect complement to the other seasons of teaching in his career. He believes TACS programs give young people confidence, a sense of self worth, and a place to feel success. To Ben, sailing is truly a life-long adventure.
Ben has a Masters Degree in Teaching, his US Sailing Level 3 Instructor Certification, a Level 200 Alpine Ski Instructor Certification, CPR, First Aid, and Safe Sport training, as well as being a Level 1 Sail Instructor trainer. In life, he describes himself as “approaching adulting,” saying “it’s almost time.” He is looking forward to becoming “un abuelo” (a grandpa!!), traveling both internationally and continentally, and most of all, enjoying each day.
When Ben is not at TACS (which is seldom!) he can be found biking, skiing, sup-ing, reading, traveling, and/or spending time with his dog, wife, two grown kids, including a son-in-law. If you know Ben, you know he loves to be silly, dance, and speak in Spanish (A LOT). You also may know that he makes some pretty weird noises when he is cheering people on in whatever they are doing!
Youth Program Instructors
U.S. Sailing Level 2 Instructor
Lauren learned to sail at TACS- but her connection to TACS runs a little bit deeper! She chose to become an instructor because she enjoys sailing, working with kids, and being outside.
Lauren has her US Sailing Level 2 Instructor certification, and Adaptive Sailing training, as well as all of her CPR, AED, Safe Sport, Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals trainings. She has earned a Bachelors of Science, and is currently in process of completing her Masters of Social Work. At this point in life, she’s doing a lot of adulting!
In Lauren’s free time, she can be found outside, skiing, biking, or spending time with her dog and her husband. Lauren has been sailing “forever” and has taught ALMOST all of the other instructors at TACS. ALMOST. Fun Fact about Lauren? She has been running the Adaptive Sail program at TACS since 2018. Every Thursday night in the summer you can find her on the docks supporting sailors, that with individualized adaptations, can enjoy sailing as a lifelong recreation!
U.S. Sailing Level 3 Instructor
Gabe is an elder here at TACS, having been here for 13 years. He has always wanted to work here, from the time he started at age 8. He loves working with kids, and he loves sailing. Gabe plans to keep teaching at TACS as long as TACS will keep him.
Gabe has his US Sailing Level 3 Instructor certification, as well as his Boaters Safety, CPR, First Aid, AED, and Safe Sport training.
When Gabe is not teaching, he can be found sailing (of course), studying, reading, or spending time with his mom, dad, two younger sisters, and his dog. Fun Fact about Gabe? He hates being cold, but has always lived in Michigan. That must be why he will be returning south this fall to his sophomore year in college, far from the Michigan winter!
Andrew started at TACS at the age of 12, sailing lasers. Since then he has sailed every summer, earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification (with plans to attain higher levels of certification), as well as completed CPR, AED, SEBA, and Safe Sport training. Andrew is a US Sailing member, and a Great Lakes Maritime Academy Cadet. Andrew has a passion for teaching, and wants to be a part of teaching the next generation of sailors. In his opinion, sailing is what makes Andrew, Andrew.
Andrew is a college student who is pursuing a B.S. in Maritime Engineering, including an Unlimited Horsepower License in Steam, a Diesel license, and certification in Maritime Technology. In the future, he hopes to see the world from a “boat’s eye view.”
When not on the water, Andrew enjoys going to the gym, playing basketball, and collecting shoes.
Nick has been working for TACS for 3 years. Unlike many of the instructors, he didn’t actually learn to sail here; his connection was through his knowing Señor Ferris from school. Nick became an instructor because being at TACS combines his love for sailing and kids. It’s the perfect way to spend his summer!
Nick has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as his CPR, and First Aid training. He plans to continue with his Level 2 certification, and continue to work with TACS.
In the fall, Nick will be a Freshman at Notre Dame. He looks forward to studying Neuroscience and Behavior before becoming a Priest. When he is not at TACS, he can be found sailing, skiing, mountain biking, doing impressions, or watching YouTube. Nick has two brothers, one of which also works at TACS. Nick considers himself a very genuine and innocent person, whose favorite color is white, and who takes good care of his pet rock.
Simon learned to sail at TACS, races with the high school team, and has been generally hanging around for the past 9 years. Simon chose to become an instructor to teach the next generation of sailors and hopefully make them into skilled racers to keep the high school team going.
Simon has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification in addition to completing CPR, AED, SafeSport and First Aid trainings.
This fall Simon will be starting his Senior year at Central High School, looking forward to sailing in college and serving in the Navy. When Simon is not teaching, he can be found sailing (of course), playing guitar, or skimboarding, He currently is obsessed with finding out what “updog” means. So, if you see him, be sure to ask him, “What’s updog?”
Lucas has been part of TACS for ten years. Before becoming an instructor, he learned to sail here, volunteered in summer youth programs, and helped teach STEM classes about such things as wind, basic physics, and water quality monitoring. Lucas enjoys teaching at TACS because he feels it is a great environment full of positivity. He finds it important to be part of continuing to spread the love of sailing to new sailors.
Lucas has his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as his Boaters Safety, CPR, First Aid, AED, and Safe Sport training.
Lucas plans to attend Michigan Technological University in the fall, where he is looking forward to finding innovative ways to mix sailing with Mechanical Engineering.
When he is not teaching, Lucas can be found sail racing, tinkering, or otherwise on the water.
Grant has been with TACS since he started sailing here 6 years ago. He chose to become an instructor here because he enjoys the time he spends on the water and wants to be part of passing on the art of sailing to future sailors.
Grant has completed his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, in addition to CPR, AED and First Aid training.
This coming Fall, Grant will be a Senior at Central High School, and will be looking forward to attending University of Michigan after graduation. When he is not instructing, he enjoys sailing (of course) as well as skiing and reading. Grant’s fun fact? He has REALLY curly hair!
Grace learned to sail at TACS, and is now entering her third year of teaching. She chose to become an instructor because she likes working on the water, and loves teaching kids how to sail!
Grace has her US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as her Boaters Safety, CPR, First Aid, AED, Safe Sport, and Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals training.
This fall, she will be a Senior at Traverse City Central, and is looking forward to college after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys sailing (of course), reading, gardening, and skiing. Fun fact about Grace? She is interested in Botany; that must be why she enjoys gardening!
This is James first summer working at TACS officially, but he has been volunteering here for a while. He chose to become an instructor because he enjoys working with kids, and he enjoys sailing. It is important to him that he teaches well and ensures kids learn while having fun!
James has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification in addition to completing CPR, AED, SafeSport and First Aid trainings.
This fall James will be returning to St. Francis High School as a Junior. In the future, he looks forward to attending college and studying engineering. In his free time, he enjoys wingfoiling (if you don’t know what it is, you should ask him!), and playing sports, including rugby!
Matt started at TACS learning to sail at age 8. He is currently in his 10 summer at TACS. He chose to work at TACS so that he could get a ride with his older brother Colin, who instructed here as well.
Matt is has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification in addition to completing CPR, AED, SafeSport and First Aid trainings.
This fall, Matt will be returning to Central High School, working toward attending college and studying engineering. When he is not teaching sailing, he can be found running Track and Field. He, too, is obsessed with “updog.” So make sure to ask him about it when you see him!
Katie has been with TACS since she was 8 years old. This will be her first year teaching! She chose to become an instructor because she loves working with kids. Katie has completed her US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as First Aid, Safe Sport, and Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals trainings.
In the fall, she will return to Traverse City Central High School, with college on the horizon. When she is not at TACS, she can be found painting or riding her bike. Fun Fact about Katie? She’s been swimming off the Opti docks for 7 and a half years!
Isley started here at TACS as a student when he was 8 years old. He chose to become an instructor so that he could share his enjoyment of sailing with others.
Isley has his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as his Boaters Safety, CPR, First Aid, AED, and Safe Sport training.
In the Fall, Isley will be a Junior at Traverse City Central High School. He looks forward to traveling, teaching, and sailing in the future. When he is not at TACS, he can be found sailing (of course), skiing, biking or hanging out with his dog and two cats. What does Isley think makes Isley, Isley? He is allergic to the life saving antibiotic, Penicillin.
Anna grew up sailing at TACS, having started sailing when she was 7 years old. Although, she “hated sailing at first,” she has always wanted to be an instructor and spend summers with her older brother, Gabe. Anna loves working with the kids all day, and enjoys working with Adaptive Sailing on Thursday nights.
Anna has her US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, as well as her Boaters Safety, CPR, First Aid, AED, and Safe Sport training.
This Fall, Anna will be a Junior at Traverse City St. Francis. Beyond that she hopes to attend college and study to become a dental hygienist. In her free time, she likes to catch up on sleep, eat, and play tennis. Fun fact about Anna? She makes her brother’s lunch for him, EVERY DAY!!!
Alex has been part of TACS for 6 years, beginning sailing here when he was eleven years old. Alex chose to become an instructor because he loves to sail, and what better summer job is there?
Alex has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification in addition to completing CPR, AED and First Aid training.
This fall he will be entering his Senior Year at Traverse City West High School, and looking forward to college and independence. His hobbies and interests include sailing (of course) as well as school, and being outdoors. Alex doesn’t consider himself “outgoing” in the traditional sense, but really enjoyed time spent with friends, family, and his two dogs and cat.
This is Jackson’s first year with TACS! He learned to sail from his father, and worked and sailed at Grand Traverse Yacht Club. He chose to become an instructor because he wanted to become more involved in the community. Jackson loves to teach! He is excited to work with both adults and kids, and share his love for sailing.
Jackson has earned his US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Certification in addition to completing CPR, AED, SafeSport and First Aid trainings.
Jackson has recently graduated from Arizona State University and is looking for a teaching position in science or Government. He is looking forward to finding a classroom position for the fall, and becoming more involved with TACS. When he is not teaching at TACS, he can be found sailing (of course), skiing, boating, or teaching music. He loves music and is always smiling when he is on the water. Fun fact about Jackson? He has lived in California, Arizona, and Michigan.
Malia followed her friends to TACS to join the high school sailing team. Additionally, she chose to work here because she enjoys the community and wants to share her love of sailing with others. Malia works with both youth sailors and adults. She has her Level 1 US Sailing Instructor certification, and First Aid.
In the fall, Malia will be returning to the University of Rochester to study Chemistry. She is looking forward to pursuing research in Chemistry in the future.
When Malia is not sailing, she can be found playing violin in an orchestra, cooking, or reading. Although she has no pets, she considers herself a cat person. A couple fun facts about Malia are that her favorite movie is “Paddington,” and in addition to playing violin, she enjoys trying to teach herself new instruments!
Michael started his journey at TACS with a Laser class in 2018, and has been here ever since! In addition to taking classes, Michael has volunteered over the years and has always had a great time. He chose to become an instructor in order to give back to his community, so that others may have a great time at TACS as well!
Michael is a US Level 1 certified sail instructor, who also has his boater’s license, and CPR and First Aid training.
This fall Michael will be starting his Senior year at Central High School. He is looking forward to attending college at either GVSU or MSU to a pursue a degree in Law or Political Science. When he is not teaching, he may be found sailing (of course), biking, reading, or talking cars. Michael loves football and his favorite book is the “Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.
Caleb has a strong connection to TACS. He has been with the program since he was in 3rd grade, he learned to sail here, and he recommends the program to others. Caleb chose to work at TACS because he believes in the program and its amazing influence. He believes sailing is a very important skill that everyone should have. Instead of working inside, he loves to be outside, on the water teaching and showing others how to sail. He’s been on the water his whole life and loves working with people, making TACS the perfect place for Caleb!
Caleb currently works with Open Sail and Adaptive Sail. He has his Boater’s Safety Certification, and plans to take his Level 1 US Sailing Instructor Certification next summer.
In the fall, Caleb will be starting his Sophomore year at Central High School. He looks forward to athletics (he runs cross country) and travel. Caleb has so many interests, some of which include (other than sailing) hiking, piano, biking, running, swimming, architecture, biology, art, water (both salt and fresh), nature, and life in general. Fun facts about Caleb? Caleb’s nickname is “Shaggy” because in 6th grade he looked like Shaggy, and the name just stuck. Piano equals a happy Caleb. He thinks Classic Rock is AWESOME, and if you haven’t picked up on it yet, he LOVES nature! A LOT!
Adult Program Instructors
Adaptive Program Instructors
I am a teacher at St. Francis High School and I have been sailing since childhood.
I'm happy to be at TACS because it allows me to blend my training as a teacher with my love of sailing. I have sailed on a variety of boats, including a summer spent crewing aboard a schooner on the coast of Maine, which was my favorite sailing experience. I am also married with three children who I hope will grow up to love sailing as well!