A lasting legacy that will benefit Bermuda’s children
Imagine a programme where Bermudian children can learn science, technology, engineering, arts and maths in a fun outdoor classroom that helps them engage with the information in a way that it makes sense.
Oh, and the bonus is, they learn to sail at the same time and are taught by top sailing instructors.
Now take that amazing opportunity, make it free, and throw in a few famous America's Cup sailors to mentor the children.
That is what AC Endeavour is all about, exposing Bermuda's youth, as many as possible, to education via the science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) curriculum component and personal growth through the sport of sailing.
The programme is a legacy project — the result of Bermuda becoming host of the 2017 America's Cup. It was launched at the start of last school year with the official opening of the St George's Sailing Centre in October. A second location was opened in Dockyard in May.
It is co-chaired by Sir Russell Coutts, America's Cup Event Authority CEO and former Premier of Bermuda, Sir John Swan.
AC Endeavour is managed by Tom Herbert-Evans, Community Sailing Manager and Bermudians Katrina Williams, Molly Riihilluoma, Tristan Loescher, Thomas Mahoney and Josh Greenslade run the day-to-day operations along with Leah Collis.
AC Endeavour enrols more than 700 students into the programme each year with an additional 250 participating in the after-school club. It is available for students aged nine to 12.
After launching a year ago, AC Endeavour has seen more than 1,000 students from public and private schools come through both locations to learn STEAM education through sailing. In addition to the weeklong programme, there is also an after-school programme, special camps during school breaks and much more.
Children have had 2,782 experiences which include tech talks at Oracle Team USA, Taster sailing sessions at Marine and Sports Expo, Harbour Nights and tours of Spirit of Bermuda.
“It's been amazing year for the America's Cup Endeavour Programme,” Herbert-Evans said.
“Our goal from the beginning was to reach as many Bermudian schoolchildren as possible, providing them the opportunity to experience STEAM through sailing without barrier, in particular removing any costs.
With the second year starting, we've managed to exceed our goals and enjoy seeing the development and stories of the students along the way, who love learning outside of the traditional classroom.”
In addition to sailing and learning through STEAM, the children also train in the Oracle Team USA gym with trainer Craig McFarlane and learn healthy eating with Scott Tindal, the team's nutritionist.
A few lucky graduates were also gifted the use of an Optimist dinghy for the year. So far, more than a dozen students were given the use of the Optis. The boats were donated to Oracle Team USA last year in significant disrepair and were brought back to “as new” condition through the efforts of the Oracle shore team.
The well-used dinghies were donated by the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and a team of workers from Butterfield Bank helped to strip them down and deliver them to the Oracle Team USA base in Dockyard. North Sails arranged the sails for the boats and Harken has given the rigging hardware, blocks and cleats.
Magic Marine has supplied life jackets and clothing, with Dynamic Dollies donating the needed trailers to move to and from the base.
To learn more about AC Endeavour, visit www.facebook.com/endeavourcommunitysailing/ and like the page.