Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Difference Your $29 Makes–Aelf on the Fantastic Voyage 3-Day

In August, four students from the Community Boat Project, a local boat-building partnership for teenagers from nearby Chimacum, received scholarships to come aboard Adventuress for our Fantastic Voyage 3-Day program in the San Juan Islands. On a recent afternoon in the boat shop located at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, with the weather halfway between sun and rain, fifteen-year-old Aelf spoke about her experience aboard Adventuress

Backing the main with participants
from the Fantastic Voyage 3-Day.

Tackling the question of her favorite moment, Aelf confessed to having several. There was the evening shore hike when crew members and participants walked back with their headlamps off, interrupting the silence only for the call of “rock” or “root” to repeat down the line. There was the last day of the trip, when Aelf’s team in the “Schooner Olympics” had to work together to figure out how to set and strike the jib without help from the crew. And there was time spent relaxing in the bowsprit net, which Aelf sees as a representation of community. Because of the nature of the net, “Every move you make affects everyone else.”

Aelf is deeply committed to this idea of interconnectedness. She thinks of someday majoring in ecology, which she describes as “the study of connections between things . . . if you damage one thing you affect the whole web, but the whole can be hard to see.” She lists potential ecology-related careers and ends by envisioning what a job on Adventuress would look like: “Work on a boat and show other kids how the world is connected.”

Aelf describes Adventuress as “a combination of old nautical maritime society and new science mingling together to make a new and exciting experience for youth.”  She believes that coming aboard is important because “young people are starting to look at the paths that are ahead . . . so many paths.” Adventuress gives them a sense of one possible path that “might imprint on them for the rest of their lives”–a path that integrates science, community, tradition, and environmental awareness.  

Asked why people should give to 29 Dollars, 29 Days: Getting Kids on the Boat, Aelf replied that “it opens up the field to people who actually care and who might not have the money… there are students like me who live below the poverty line and who might not get a chance to come aboard.”  

Friday, October 31st is the last official day to give to 29 Dollars, 29 Days: Getting Kids on the Boat. Your $29–the cost for one child or teen to come aboard with his or her school or youth group for a day program–truly makes a difference to our region’s young people.  Click here to donate today!  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Difference Your $29 Makes–A Story from New Start High School

During the month of October, we’re fundraising for our 29 Dollars, 29 Days: Getting Kids on the Boat campaign. Why $29? It’s the cost for one student to come aboard with their school or youth group for a day program. Every dollar raised through this month-long campaign will go directly to scholarship children and teens throughout the Puget Sound region. Click here to donate today.

This month–to celebrate and illuminate the impact of your $29–we’re sharing stories about Adventuress’ power to transform lives. Today’s story comes from Kelsie Maney, a teacher at New Start High School. Many students attend New Start because they have been underserved at comprehensive high schools and are behind in credits. For the past several years, New Start students have come aboard Adventuress each spring for a 3-day overnight. Kelsie recalls the particular impact that the trip had on one of her students:  

“When Julia first started at New Start she had freshmen credits even though she was 16 years old. Julia comes from a family that has been devastated by gang related crimes and other challenges that too often affect urban young people, which caused her to lose huge pieces of her education as well as parts of herself, including her confidence. She also saw little future in academics for herself when she started at New Start...

New Start students work with crew member 
Thom Young to develop a plan to strike the foresail.
 “Last spring Julia went through a transformative experience aboard Adventuress. She felt accepted, gained self-awareness, and found solace in nature that she could not find in the city. She felt a new sense of purpose and even considers the possibility of working in the maritime field for her future career. Her sense of responsibility to the environment also completely changed.  She now proudly advocates for keeping the environment cleaner and tells people to be more responsible with what they buy and how they use resources. Most importantly, I have seen Julia want to be more of a citizen in her community. She takes on more community involvement and tries to work with other people at school to encourage a stronger school connection.

“Stories like Julia’s are very common after students step off of Adventuress. They take so much away with them from the chance to reflect, develop socially, and learn from caring crew members. I highly recommend donating to 29,29 because so many of the students that learn aboard Adventuress have no other way to find the sorts of transformations that happen on the Sound.  With little means to escape the city, the need for meditation in nature is huge for these students. By making the decision to support students in going to sea, you help them see a brighter future for themselves. This is a fantastic gift not just for individual students, but for their families and for the community as a whole.” 

Thank you, Kelsie, for sharing your students’ stories! And thank you, Sound Experience community members, for giving to 29,29!