Endeavour Community Sailing, a non-profit and registered charity in Bermuda, dedicated to building self-confidence, teamwork, and life skills by engaging youth from diverse backgrounds across Bermuda in hands-on experiential sailing through learning teamed up with the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA) to host a Women on the Water Clinic on March 9th in honour of the 2019 International Women’s Day.
The Women on the Water Clinic is designed to inspire, support, and connect female youth sailors from diverse backgrounds across Bermuda, foster their interest in sailing, empower them with opportunities to get on and stay on the water, build their confidence and advance their skills.
Jennifer Pitcher, Endeavour’s Community Engagement, Development & Partnerships Manager, states “We’re elated with the turnout for the Women on the Water Clinic bringing together 21 female sailors from nine local schools (Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning, The Bermuda High School For Girls, The Bermuda Institute, Clearwater Middle School, Mount Saint Agnes, Saltus, Sandys Secondary Middle School, T.N. Tatem Middle School, and Warwick Academy) for a fun-filled, inspiring day.
The female sailors ranged from age nine through 15 years old and represent various sailing levels from beginners to advanced racers, some of whom represented local sailing clubs such as the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, Sandys Boat Club, St. George’s Dinghy & Sports Club, and Visionary Sailing Academy.
More than half of the female sailors represented Endeavour Graduates who were selected to continue to develop their skills through sailing in the Endeavour Graduate Programme based on their excellent teamwork, willingness to learn, respectfulness, listening skills, and overall effort demonstrated during their participation in the Endeavour Middle School Programme.
The Endeavour Middle School Programme is Endeavour’s flagship initiative, which engages all middle school students in Bermuda during their first year of middle school. The programme focuses on a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math through sailing curriculum that extends what students are learning on the classroom with math and science concepts applicable through sailing.
Tia Tankard, Club Development Officer for Endeavour Community Sailing, commented, “we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day for the youth female sailors. It was amazing to see so many Endeavour Grads participate along with sailors from local clubs. It was also heartwarming to watch the bonds forming between the girls over the day, many from different schools and parishes who quickly became friends once they realized they shared a lot in common”.
Dede Cooper, Sailor Development Officer for BODA said, “this is our 3rd WOW clinic promoting women in sailing and one of our best! It is so great to give these young women from different clubs, backgrounds, and schools an opportunity to spend the day together doing the thing they all love and have in common, sailing. BODA is pleased to be able to offer two Endeavour sailors scholarships to continue sailing at no cost for the Spring term”.
The day started out with the female sailors getting to know each other better with a fun game of knots, learning about their career aspirations, what they enjoy doing on weekends, and what secret power they would like to have.
Throughout the morning the girls participated in a series of activities focused on health and wellness. Then after lunch female instructors from Endeavour and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club joined forces for a skills-focused session on the water during the afternoon as all 21 female participants sailed together before splitting up into smaller groups to focus on improving their sailing technique in Optimists.
Jennifer Pitcher added, “We’re grateful for the wonderful support we received from the local community to host a successful Women on the Water Clinic. Sandys Boat Club for lending Optimists, BODA for their partnership with Endeavour Community Sailing for the event, Sophia Cannonier from Lotus – Integrated Health and Wellness Studio and Catherine Burns of Natural Nutrition who both dedicated their time and talent to inspire the female youth sailors.”
Sophia from Lotus facilitated an interactive yoga session inspiring the girls to practice a healthy mind, spirit and body and leading the girls through a fun series of stretches and breathing exercises to prepare them for optimal performance on and off the water.
Catherine from Natural Nutrition facilitated an exciting session on health and nutrition where the girls learned about the importance of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She expanded the female sailors’ knowledge of good nutrition and the girls were fascinated to learn more about the science behind eating well for performance on and off the water.
The female youth sailors loved learning how to make caramel coconut chocolate chip energy bites. The girls worked together in teams to prepare the ingredients and enjoyed tasting the perfect snack to take on the water and replenish their energy.
The day concluded with a reflection exercise lead by Dede Cooper in which girls discussed the importance of practicing gratitude.
Tia Tankard, added, “We look forward to partnering with BODA in the future to host similar to promote females in sailing. We can’t wait to see what’s next for these incredible young ladies as their futures are shining brightly!”
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