For two local organizations, there is no such thing as an off season on Champlain. On September 3, 2008, Lake Champlain International, Inc. (LCI) and Burlington Boatyard, LLC (BBY) solidified a principal sponsorship centered on continuing the revitalization of Lake Champlain to further support the community.
LCI, a federally recognized 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, is a leading advocate for the restoration and conservation of Lake Champlain and its watershed. For nearly three decades, LCI has hosted countless fundraising events in support of Lake Champlain, most notably the LCI Father's Day Fishing Derby, which attracts anglers nationwide by the thousands each year. Over the past few months, the directors of LCI have applauded the efforts put forth by Burlington Boatyard, a newly emerged limited liability company and fellow supporter of a cleaner and healthier Lake Champlain. Founded by five young entrepreneurs-three of whom graduated from the University of Vermont -- Burlington Boatyard recently unveiled their redesigned website and business model which offers affordable advertising to individuals and marinas selling new and used boats, parts, and accessories; while at the same time connecting local marine enthusiasts through new media and social networking technology.
BBY's dedication to Vermont's marine and lake initiatives tugged at the line of James Ehlers, LCI's executive director, who oversaw each phase of the sponsorship. “LCI welcomes the support of this group of innovative and hard-working lake stewards”, remarked Ehlers. “We applaud their commitment to the community and the health of the lake and look forward to their support for years to come in our efforts to restore and revitalize Lake Champlain.”
Burlington Boatyard's Chief Executive Officer, Guy Mitrano, said of the sponsorship, “We are honored to have this opportunity to work with such a valuable and essential organization to the Lake Champlain watershed. Burlington Boatyard holds in high esteem LCI’s values, dedication and contributions to the resources of today, ensuring conservation and availability for tomorrow. We will work closely with LCI to establish new growth opportunities from an online perspective, and serve as a devoted proponent of their mission overall.”
With a dedication to positively impacting the community, Burlington Boatyard is using its various new media channels to highlight boating, open and hard-water fishing, and other marine related issues surrounding Lake Champlain and all Vermont watersheds. These media channels include a blog, forum, podcasts, an “ask the tech” feature, user photo community, custom video channel, and segmented newsletters.
BBY also has plans to launch initiatives that focus on youth education, in regards to lake health, boating safety, conservation and its role in fishing, all of which will ultimately allow younger people to become involved in the community via online programs and on-the-water workshops.
“We are striving to ensure that everyone can take part in the virtual world of boating, fishing and marine awareness and conservation,” said Chief Technology Officer of Burlington Boatyard, Nick Cifuentes. “As a business, we are constantly thinking of new, innovative ideas to build a social community on the web that is not only entertaining and informative, but all the while promoting lake and boating issues as the most crucial element of that paradigm.”
Besides functioning as a place to advertise used and new boats, parts and accessories, Burlington Boatyard’s new media channels have allowed them to secure several resources in the Lake Champlain area. These include Lake Champlain’s very own famous angler, Mickey Maynard, who works exclusively with BBY on their blog, video segments, podcasts, and monthly promotions. “Capt.Mick” covers topics that range from safe boat towing and seasonal fishing reports, to the lead recycling program on Champlain and lamprey control.
Also, by securing a principle sponsorship relationship with Lake Champlain International, Inc., Burlington Boatyard will be working directly with LCI (lciderby.com) to implement new online features on their long-time running website, such as custom RSS news feeds, educational videos, downloadable youth curricula, informational podcasts, interactive applications, and much more.
Recently, BBY has started working with the University of Vermont Wakeboard Club to aid in their exposure and development as they look to local marinas and businesses for resources, equipment and water access points. As these donations will benefit the club's progress and growth immensely, Burlington Boatyard (BurlingtonBoatyard.com) has agreed to guide the officers in promoting lake clean up and service projects, where a club policy would require each member to donate a set number of hours to community service per semester. BBY managers, who will also partake in these clean ups, will oversee and ensure all projects are focused exclusively on lake initiatives.
“From Lake Champlain to Bomoseen, the Chazy River to the Otter, our goal is to ensure every boater, angler and lake-goer can stay connected and informed through our services.” said CEO Guy Mitrano.
“While we provide the mediums and business model that facilitate the promotion of an 'online and on-the-water' community, our users contribute greatly, as we hear from them daily regarding the events and topics that deserve mention throughout the state and beyond.”
Mitrano went on to note, “I am excited about our recent growth in opportunities to work closely with many individuals and organizations, like LCI, and our focus will remain on positively impacting both the fun and informational aspects of the lake community.”