Endeavour is a registered charity and non-profit that engages Bermuda’s youth in hands-on, experiential learning through sailing that builds their self-confidence and life skills.
Endeavour’s programmes encourage and promote inclusiveness in the sport of sailing and more widely in the maritime industry by exposing youth of all backgrounds, skills and abilities to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) through sailing learning activities, ocean conservation, and Bermuda’s maritime heritage.
Endeavour is honoured to support diverse youth with exceptional abilities as part of the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme, engaging students on the autism spectrum in hands-on STEAM through sailing and ocean adventures as recreational therapy. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication (Autism Speaks, 2023).
Endeavour partners with six public schools for the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme: Paget Primary, Prospect Primary, West Pembroke Primary, Dellwood Middle School, The Berkeley Institute, and new in 2023, Dame Majorie Bean Hope Academy. During Autism Acceptance month in April, Endeavour engaged 36 students between the ages five and 18 years old and 23 teachers.
Endeavour’s East Programme Manager, Geovanni Hayward explains, “It is awesome to see students’ faces light up with joy and excitement during their participation in the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme. Whether they are putting their hands or feet in the ocean while sailing, enhancing their motor skills by rigging boats and steering on the water, or interacting with sensory activities in the classroom, it creates a connection between the student and their environment that enhances their self-awareness and develops a foundation for learning more about the world around them.”
Mr. Hayward added, “For returning students who have been to Endeavour a few times, we have added opportunities for them to try something new and apply their skills in a different kind of boat: a single-handed boat called an Optimist. Typically we have students start out on the Hobie wave catamaran as it is a very stable training boat, however, it was incredible to see some students enjoy trying something new as they build more confidence. We are excited to have them return in the future and support them with further skills development while enjoying ocean adventures!”
Dorann Simons, Education Officer, Department of Education shared, “I have to give props to the young men who assisted with the group from Dame Majorie Bean Hope Academy. It was such a positive learning experience for both the students as well as staff who accompanied them. Watching them in a different environment and doing so well.”
Abigail Clifford, BF&M’s Group President and CEO: “BF&M is honoured to be the longstanding sponsor of the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme, since its inception in 2017. We recognise the importance of development outside of the classroom and are committed to promoting education and inclusion. Over the course of our sponsorship, it has been incredibly rewarding to see the results of the programme and the impact they are making in the lives of children on the autism spectrum in Bermuda.”
Social–emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work and life success (Committee for Children, 2023). Children with autism have a difficult time recognising and regulating emotions which makes having social awareness or making responsible decisions difficult as well. Social emotional learning can help children with autism develop an awareness of emotions and build social relationships (Better Kids, 2023).
Rajae Woods, Endeavour Programme Coordinator said, “During the programme, students engage in STEAM activities through sailing including buoyancy and engineering challenges, as well as exploring Bermuda from the water and marine debris clean ups. We love seeing students’ self-esteem grow as they develop skills including communication, peer-to-peer interaction, and socio-emotional skills by engaging in hands-on learning activities.”
Mr. Woods added, “It was fantastic to see students engaged in learning more about the process of kite making – a big part of Bermuda’s culture – while exploring wind and the power of the wind for flying kites and sailing.” Endeavour is thankful to Divisional Officer Shannon DeRoza from the Department of Corrections who kindly donated kite frames for students to create traditional Bermuda kites during the programme.
Parents and teachers of children who participate in the programme report that it helps equip students with life skills such as increased confidence, enhanced communication and increased ability to adapt to a new environment.
Donna Campbell, mother of West Pembroke Primary student, shared, “I would like to say thank you for all that the Endeavour team does for the kids. Asia absolutely loves the program and has from the very first time she participated. She learned to say “sailing” and this time around is trying to say “Endeavour”! She hasn’t quite got it yet, but she will. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Jahshon Smith, Endeavour Programme Instructor said, “It is inspiring to see students’ determination, resilience and courage as they try something out of their comfort zone while building skills and confidence on and off the water. Often students are nervous during their first sailing experience, however with positive encouragement and reassurance they develop confidence over time and it is truly remarkable to see their transformation; they believe in themselves more when they see what they can accomplish.”
Freda Trimm, Paget Primary ASD Teacher shared, “I am so grateful to BF&M and Endeavour for facilitating this unique learning experience for our students. The Endeavour team is dynamic towards all of the students with exceptionalities to support their learning experience. I have watched the programme grow successfully over the last six years and am excited to continue our partnership in the future.”
Endeavour’s Executive Director, Jennifer Pitcher said: “There are no limits for what students with autism and other intellectual disabilities can achieve when they are in a supportive and inclusive learning environment. We are grateful for the tremendous support from our educator partners who help ensure that the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme can take place. This programme also provides a development opportunity for Endeavours’ instructors who advance their skill set by learning to teach in different ways, partnering with teachers to support their students’ learning journey.”
Marsha Simas, Dame Majorie Bean Hope Academy teacher shared, “I really enjoyed watching our students’ excitement and engagement while sailing and interacting with the phenomenal young men at Endeavour that were working with us and our students. I really appreciated their willingness to work with our students, especially with our students with behavioural challenges. They were patient, kind, supportive, understanding and willing to continue on despite the challenges. We absolutely loved them!”
Letasha Tucker, Dellwood Middle School teacher shared, “I really enjoyed seeing students learning new skills outside the classroom. Each time we come to Endeavour there is something different and new for the students. My students’ experience has been amazing. All the coaches have great personalities and are very knowledgeable.”
Ashleigh Lowe, ASD Teacher at The Berkeley Institute said, “Endeavour works well with our ASD students and provides innovative techniques to assist students with challenges boarding the sailing vessels. They prepare the students in advance with a practice boarding process and allow them to board the boat from the beach. We are grateful for the Endeavour team and appreciate everything they do to make our experience powerful and meaningful.”
Mrs. Pitcher added, “Endeavour’s work with Bermuda’s youth would not be possible without the amazing support from our valued donors, partners, and supporters who enable us to create a positive impact in diverse young lives across Bermuda. Special thanks to BF&M Limited and Endeavour’s founding lead sponsor, Orbis Investments, for their unwavering commitment and support of Endeavour and our work with Bermuda’s youth.”
Visit www.endeavour.bm to learn more about Endeavour’s experiential learning programmes.
Sources:Back to News Archives
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