As you probably know by now, we were crushed 2 years ago in February by the death of our beloved son, Owen Eliasen, from myocarditis, at the age of 20.
Owen was so much more than a beloved son and strong sailor/sailing instructor. He was the best of us - best friend, loyal confidant, wise advisor, and a true gentleman with a keen mind, a sharp wit, an easy manner, and devout love of family and good friends.
Owen worked tirelessly to build our sailing program, International Youth Sailing of Oshkosh (IYSO), providing instruction and safety to nearly 12,000 students, Boys & Girls Club kids, and kids from a variety of other clubs, associations, programs and camps throughout Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Winneconne, Shawano, Oconto, Appleton and Green Bay. He contributed greatly to the hallmark of our sailing program, Every Oshkosh Student a Sailor, through which all fourth graders in the Oshkosh Area School District have learned to sail every year since 2014.
Not only did Owen embrace IYSO’s mission to provide a safe, thoughtful and fun environment in which to learn to sail and love the water, he also embodied, like no other, IYSO’s conviction that sailing challenges students to grow in self-reliance, the ability to collaborate as a crew (team), resourcefulness, and in the ability to think and adapt quickly. He personified the sure-footedness in all of life that exposure to sailing can provide.
After Owen passed away, we couldn't imagine being on the water or ever again looking at a sailboat; however, in his honor and in gratitude for the support and encouragement we have felt from all you, our friends, fellow sailors and supporters, during the darkest days of our lives, we want to do something positive for communities in northeastern Wisconsin. Therefore, in honor of Owen, we decided to return to the water and provide sailing to anyone who wants to try it, at an extremely nominal fee.
To keep bringing Owen’s legacy to life, we invite you to donate to the “The Owen Project.” Our goal is to continue upgrading and expanding our existing fleet of Hobie Wave catamarans and O’pen Bic youth sailboats, as well as refresh other sailing and safety gear (i.e., sails, life jackets, outboard motors, etc.), and provide sailing instruction to all in 2021.
In the event that you've not had the chance to view the recent tribute to Owen or videos from our program over the years, you'll find the following links:
Thank you for reading about Owen.