Considered a Rite of Passage, Spirit of Bermuda’s middle school programme has been described as “One of the most engaging and beneficial programmes available to adolescents, which every Bermudian youth should do”.
The Bermuda Sloop Foundation (BSF) is entering its 15th year of providing a powerful international award-winning and experiential learning /sail training experience to the youth of Bermuda aboard its Sail Training Vessel (STV) Spirit of Bermuda (Spirit).
BSF has historically provided a 5 day/ 4 night residential programme to all youth in Bermuda. In 2020 it was modified to a “days only” programme in order to meet Pandemic-related governmental requirements. The four-day on-board learning experience accomplishes key objectives of Skills Development (connecting to curriculum), Social-Emotional Learning, and connection to Bermuda’s environment and unique history. Working with school leaders to schedule and plan, the present 4-day experience challenges each young person (usually 12-15) to step up and become a trainee crew member on the historically relevant tall ship, Spirit of Bermuda.
Learning every aspect of sailing Spirit, each student steps outside of their comfort zone and learns by ‘doing’ — developing a plethora of new skills and learning their own value as a member of the ship’s crew. During the 4 days, each day builds upon the previous one as all aboard become trainee crew; there are no “passengers.” All learn to successfully prepare, plan, navigate, sail and better understand the natural world while developing essential successful life skills. Spirit’s hands-on learning is key to engaging many students. The holistic direct approach has been shown to benefit all youth from “high flyers” to those needing functional skill and academic supports.
In addition, for most weeks, a day of environmental education surrounding the subject of sustainability is offered with Waterstart Ltd. Students engage in a day of snorkelling and data collection, coupled with island ecology and woodland restoration.
BSF also offers a programme for senior students interested in maritime careers to become charter crew and/or do job shadowing (day release) during our Day Expeditions with Middle Schools.