SAIL (Strings Alliance in Lincoln) Music Camp was the brainchild of Phoebe Hamann, with the first exploratory meeting held in March 1985. It was attended by representatives of the P.T.A., Lincoln Public Schools, the Lincoln Alumnae/Patronness chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity (SAI), and various community members.
Camp opened in August of that year on a shoe-string budget. Thirty-five students attended the inaugural camp at Auld Pavilion at Antelope Park. Lincoln Public Schools provided instruments to use at no charge.
In accordance with the name, the camp had a nautical theme. Staff and teachers wore SAILor hats. The clanging of a ship's bell announced the changing of classes and the beginning and end of the day. The young musicians were grouped into "fish schools" according to their instrument and ability levels. Special, easy-to-play songs with a nautical theme were arranged by the SAI members. Many students had never played their instruments before the beginning of SAIL Camp.
The ambition, dedication, and donation of time, talent, and supplies by Phoebe Hamann and her Sigma Alpha Iota sisters were important elements in the establishment and continuing success of SAIL Camp.
SAIL Camp has now grown to include North and South Lincoln sites with morning and afternoon sessions. There is also a two-week Honors Orchestra session for more advanced musicians between 6th and 8th grade. Starting in 2020, a new advanced orchestra will be offered for 9th-12th graders. Over the past 30 years, the camp's enrollment has grown to 375 students.
The Admiral, Captain, dedicated staff of string teachers and professionals, and volunteers of Sigma Alpha Iota continue the work that was so lovingly envisioned and started by camp founder Phoebe Hamann and her SAI sisters.
SAIL Camp was recognized for 25 years of service by the Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education in 2009.