This year, the Seabacs Boeing Employees Boat Club provided a $500 scholarship for a deserving young person from Fort Vancouver High School to sail aboard Adventuress for our 6-day Fantastic Voyage program. Pat Forbes, former Commodore and current Junior Past-Commodore, spoke about why Seabacs chose to so generously support Adventuress.
Seabacs' main purpose is for employees and associates of Boeing to boat together and enjoy the Sound. Says Pat, "We try to support the boating community as much as we can… When you can actually invest yourself in the community as a club, then you’ve really got something."
Of introducing the scholarship idea to other Seabacs members, Pat says, "Everyone was really happy that we could support Adventuress in such a tangible way and give someone the opportunity to sail and gain experience on the water... Adventuress is so well known in the region. It’s an important program that you run." Pat describes the water as "a whole different world"—a place of calm and serenity. He firmly believes that "giving other people that experience is a responsibility we have as boaters."
In fact, the impact of the Seabacs scholarship has expanded well beyond one person. Andrea Johnson, the travel coordinator at Fort Vancouver High School, recently spoke about the school's continuing relationship with Sound Experience. In April of 2016, a group of freshmen from Fort Vancouver H.S. will step aboard Adventuress for a 3-day program. In many ways, says Andrea, the Seabacs scholarship student has served as an Adventuress ambassador: "She loved it. She came back and she was totally beaming. It was a positive experience for her. She tells other students, 'Oh my gosh, you have to go on this trip.'"
Andrea believes that time on Adventuress will be incredibly valuable to her students, who might otherwise not have the chance to go out on the water. She describes Fort Vancouver H.S. as a "vibrant place… There is nowhere on the planet like Fort Vancouver." Their 1500 students represent 30 countries and speak 40 languages. Says Andrea, "We have all the urban issues of poverty and unemployment, but the kids here are really kind, really accepting."
As part of the school's new travel-focused curriculum, students will have the chance to step aboard Adventuress and deepen their understanding of the marine environment. Says Andrea, "We want to teach that, 'Yes, what we do in our homes in Vancouver affects Puget Sound, affects the Columbia River right next to us.'" Andrea mentions the Community School, whose 5th grade students have sailed on Adventuress for the past 16 years: "I tell my students, 'That's our goal: that we’ll be doing this for the next 16 years. And you are part of the inaugural year.'"
Thank you, Seabacs, for bringing a young person aboard and helping to strengthen a relationship with Fort Vancouver High School that will allow many more students to sail on Adventuress! As part of our 29 Dollars, 29 Days: Getting Kids on the Boat campaign, we hope this story illustrates that a contribution of any amount can have a lasting impact on our region’s young people. To make your contribution to 29 Dollars, 29 Days through December 1st and help raise funds to scholarship deserving young people to sail on Adventuress, you can click here.