If it is true that we make a living by what we get and a life by what we give, Nautique and its employees are building much more than boats.
Nautique employees recently traveled to El Salvador for a service trip as a part of the Nautique Cares initiative. Two four-day trips of 22 and 20 employees respectively did construction work for local schools and provided food to roughly 600 impoverished families. They also spent time speaking in classrooms and playing sports with the children.
Active engagement in charitable organizations and community projects is a top priority for CEO Bill Yeargin. Shortly after becoming CEO of Nautique over seven years ago, he made the decision to begin the Nautique Cares initiative. He established the program as a way to create a culture of service and a mission higher than themselves.
“I want us to use our resources to not only make the world’s best boats but also do our part to help those who can use our assistance,” said Yeargin.
A particularly dramatic experience during the El Salvador trip was the aid Nautique Cares gave a young woman who had lost her unborn baby. She did not have the money to pay for the operation needed to save her own life; Nautique Cares pitched in and paid for her surgery. Their meeting two days later was naturally emotional.
The gratitude of those impacted by the initiative’s work is overwhelming, according to Yeargin. In El Salvador, one local community made the team a Thank You sign made of styrofoam, which now hangs in Yeargin’s office.
This is the thirteenth trip the initiative has taken, with past trips including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Uganda and the Apache Reservation in Arizona. The initiative has also participated in numerous community projects, including the purchase and construction of two Habitat for Humanity homes. A trip back to the Dominican Republic is scheduled for October and future trips to Tanzania and a second trip to El Salvador are being considered.
These service trips have inspired additional ways to give back. Recently, Nautique donated a Super Air Nautique G21 to the As Our Own project, a community-driven movement in India that rescues vulnerable children from enslavement and exploitation and provides lifelong aftercare in a family environment. Yeargin met their president three years ago, which led to Nautique Cares traveling to India last year. His experiences led him to help As Our Own raise money and awareness.
“What we saw broke our hearts. Young girls are taken from their families and trapped in brothels servicing a dozen guys a day. I have visited many of the poorest places in the world but this is the worst thing I have seen. It combines unbearable poverty with being assaulted a dozen times a day,” said Yeargin. “We had to do more than just visit.”
Giving back is a second nature to Yeargin. He believes it strengthens the core values of Nautique while providing much-needed assistance. Feedback from Nautique’s employees is overwhelmingly positive; even though conditions can be sometimes difficult, many individuals describe it as a life-changing four-day experience.
Yeargin hopes to see other organizations reach out to engage their communities.
“I was brought up to believe everyone should use their resources to help others who need it so I would like to see every company do more,” said Yeargin. “However, it also has an incredible impact on our organizational culture. Everyone knows we have a higher mission and it is not all about us; we want to help those who need us.”
The As Our Own sweepstakes runs until December 31 and an entry also qualifies for additional monthly prizes. Click here to make a donation and enter the sweepstakes.
To read more about past Nautique Cares initiatives and other community engagement projects, visit nautique.com/blog. To learn more about the As Our Own project and how you can get involved, visit asourown.org.