Nashville Metro Parks offers sailing class for adults with disabilities

Posted at 5:22 AM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 23:15:20-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Just in time for the heat of summer, Nashville Metro Parks is expanding its sports classes for adults with disabilities by offering a sailing class.

Sail Nashville has partnered with Metro Parks to offer its instructors and boats up for Thursday morning introductory classes on July 7, 14 and 21 for adults and their caretakers for only $5.

"We're very outdoorsy people. And then the thought of getting to go on a sailboat? Oh my goodness!  Yes, so he's very excited to try this," said Kay Putman.

Putman's 40-year-old son, Josh, has Down syndrome and has participated in sports with Nashville Metro Parks for 20 years before the sailing class began.

"We're just trying to keep them busy, and you learn and you get to do it and it's just so much fun," explained Putman. "Our folks don't have a bad day. They have a bad 10 minutes and then they're happy again. It's a wonderful group of people to surround yourself by."

40-year-old Nashville Metro Parks Sailing Program Participant Josh Putnam

"I like basketball; I like flag football. I'll play golf — and I got a hole-in-one! And I swim, and I do power lifting, track — any kind of sports, like ice skating, or like skiing and snowboarding," said Josh.

When the Putmans heard the city would be offering sailing classes, they signed up right away.

"It’s going to be awesome. It’s my first time to do it. It’s gonna be fun... meeting new people," said Josh.

"Our people with disabilities would have never had an opportunity to sail, to be on a sailboat, to do anything like that had we not had these partnerships formed and give them a chance," said Putman. "And when you have a chance, you never know what they're going to excel at! They may be the best sailor we've ever seen. You know, they just never had an opportunity to shine in that element."

Metro Parks partners with Nashville Metro Parks to provide introductory sailing classes for adults with special needs and their caretakers.

The introductory class teaches the adults a new skill while also allowing the caretakers to enjoy a summer activity they might not normally be able to do.

Putman said this class — and really, any class — is warmly welcomed because for adults like her son, the choices are limited.

"Nobody is supposed to sit on the couch and do nothing and be lonely ever," said Putman. "There's just not enough programs. You have so many people who are adults with disabilities that are sitting at home because once they get out of school, [there aren't many options.]"

For more information, or to sign up for any of the Metro Parks disabilities programs, including the sailing program, contact Glen Adkins at 615-862-8489 or email

Metro Parks partners with Nashville Metro Parks to provide introductory sailing classes for adults with special needs and their caretakers at Hamilton Creek Sailboat Marina on Percy Priest Lake.