Spirit experience a ‘powerful catalyst’ for Island’s youth
Time aboard the
Spirit of Bermuda helps instil the Island’s youth with a sense of self and a pride in Bermuda’s long maritime heritage, according to Bermuda Sloop Foundation director Rafe Parker.
“The traditional sailing ship is, without doubt, the most perfect vehicle for learning ever devised by man,” said Mr Parker at the Hamilton Rotarians’ weekly luncheon.
Spirit of Bermuda last year hosted every public middle school student on a five-day voyage, some 600 children in all. Mr Rafe told Rotarians that the students’ time on-board the
Spirit would serve them well for the future.
“The sea experience is a powerful catalyst that raises the qualities of the individual to a conscious level, providing him with the raw material with which to influence his society and his environment,” he said.
In addition to teaching students life skills outside of a traditional classroom, Mr Rafe said the sloop experience can restore in the Island’s youth an awareness of their seafaring past.
“It is from our heritage, in all its forms, that we can extract our values and shape our identity as a society. It is from this nation’s collective memory that we can learn the courage of an 18th century ship’s captain, or the genius of a 19th century Bermudian shipwright, or the magic of a tall ship under sail,” he said.
The Foundation estimates that within 30 years some 18,000 young Bermudians will have spent a week at sea aboard the sloop. However, this year Government slashed funding for the project by half, leaving Mr Rafe’s organisation “scrambling hard” to make up the shortfall.