A team of professionally trained staff and skipper take a group of disadvantaged children or teenagers (aged 6 to 18) to sea for a week. Up to ten people are confined to a small living space for the duration, learning to live, sleep, cook, eat and work together. The smaller the space, the greater it seems the ability for self-improvement and development!
The “crews” are carefully chosen and the project professionally planned. Special attention is paid in the planning stage to the individual’s needs and challenges, bearing in mind also the potential group dynamics that might arise at such close quarters. The week on the boat is challenging but very rewarding. Of equal importance is the follow-up work, as we aim to assist the individual to put into practice what he or she has learned during this experience.
Some Guiding Principles:
Safety on board is of utmost importance! To insure safety at all times, each crew member must abide by the captain's rules. Everyone must work together in order to make the boat a safe environment for the entire crew! To this end, there is an expectation that each crew member be responsible for certain pre assigned tasks.
In such a closed environment, quitting is not an option. Challenges that arise due to group dynamics are inevitable. These are processed by the team and the individuals. As a consequence there is ample room for personal development. The unique setting of a boat requires its crew to deal with conflicts or problems as they arise, instead of avoiding or leaving these unresolved, as can happen in “real life”. Children and teenagers thereby learn constructive coping strategies that help them live alongside others as social beings.
To be in touch with nature and its forces is to be in touch with self! Children and teenagers experience themselves in an intense manner on the boat in the middle of nowhere where the unpredictable may occur. This allows them to experience a different sense of self. Additionally, practical skills are developed. These include orientation and navigation, basic meteorology, self-sufficiency (fishing, cooking etc.), acquisition of radio communication skills, knot-tying and many others!
Specific goals will depend on the needs and constellation of each Crew, but as an overarching goal, we seek to enable the crew members to develop and master social skills to the best of their abilities, raise their self-awareness and nurture self-confidence with the view of integrating the these skills into everyday life!
“Sailing4Kids” is a registered not- for- profit organisation with the sole aim of supporting children and teenagers who for varying reasons find themselves disadvantaged. The means of support is through hands on, outdoor education and coaching projects. The Association involves itself in fund raising activities to this end and is grateful for any donations.