OUR MISSION is to change lives, one voyage at a time, over time.
Bermuda Sloop Foundation recognizes that children learn differently, and many of Bermuda’s youths do not acquire information optimally in a traditional classroom setting.
On board our floating classroom, Spirit of Bermuda, we provide character and educational development for these and other Bermuda youth using the unique attributes of structured experiential learning through sail training (learning by doing).
By providing this alternative learning environment, we strive to increase their positive life outcomes, to encourage and develop leadership skills, and to create awareness of and pathways to technical, mechanical and marine-related careers for young Bermudians.
In striving towards this mission, we aim to make full use of sail training vessel, Spirit of Bermuda, as a ‘Rite of Passage’ for all public middle school students aged 12 to 14. Beyond the initial programme experience, follow-up voyages provide further educational and character development that will help make our youths productive community citizens. We seek to expose young people to the opportunity of pursuing tertiary education, or certifications, in specialized maritime or related technical fields and are looking to expand our relationships with shipping and related companies in Bermuda who may be able to assist by providing on board ship experience through and beyond Maritime institution experience and education.
Spirit of Bermuda is a floating classroom, and our programme has become a rite of passage for these youths. We have served over 4,000 youths since inception!
The idea of delivering a first class Character Education Programme using a tall ship designed after the schooners that our ancestors built in the 1800's was conceived in 1996. Being sailors themselves, the Founders believed that experiential learning through sail training was one of the best ways to help combat the growing negative social issues that were plaguing our youth. After being built in Rockport, Maine, Spirit of Bermuda sailed into Bermuda for the first time in late 2006 and soon after held its first school voyage with students from the M3 public school level. In 2007, the Foundation was awarded the Sail Training Programme of the Year Award by Tall Ships America. Since then, Spirit has provided life-changing experiences to more than 4,000 young people by way of school voyages, summer voyages and overseas voyages. It did not take long for Spirit of Bermuda to become a national icon and known as an excellent provider of education and character development.
In 2013, the Foundation endeavored to increase the impact the youth programme was having. By the start of the 2014/2015 academic year, exciting changes were in place, including the adoption of Franklin Covey's 7-Habits character development programme, the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in support of the public middle school Cambridge curricula, the implementation of a certified professional development training for teachers. Bermuda Sloop Foundation will be strongly collaborating with school professionals and/or other mentoring or social services on an as-needed basis. This will provide a continuum of education and character development for the 12 – 18 yrs. in most need. These professionals and organizations have the common mission of positively impacting the segment of our youth who are most at risk of leading less productive lives. By aligning our principles, amalgamating our behaviour assessment processes, and ensuring that our programmes successfully complement each other, we will mutually strengthen the impact of our respective programmes.
· To Provide an alternative learning environment (direct experiences related to STEM curriculum) for those who learn “differently” from typical classroom methods
· To Provide positive experiences to youth and offer alternative life choices
· To Expose our youth to our maritime history and today’s maritime career opportunities
· To Empower youth to represent themselves and Bermuda as ambassadors in overseas ports, which includes presentations and ship tours.
· To Be a national icon of youth education and character development in Bermuda
Our core programme is a 5-day voyage for every Middle school student; an expedition in which old habits and thinking are left ashore and new ones are embraced. The youth set out to explore the unknown as crew and in the process discover and connect with themselves and the world around them-- building confidence in themselves, in their ability to trust others, and in the power of teamwork. The learning experience is active, challenging and meaningful. The challenges of these new physical and emotional experiences lead to a new awareness, sensitivity and understanding of self and others. The STEAM of sailing a Bermuda sloop connects with academic concepts. In addition, we facilitate exploration of alternate pathways to potential careers in maritime, technical, and mechanical fields. To date, over 4000 youth have been impacted by our programmes.
369 students surveyed 2015/2016 school voyages:
Summer Voyage Summary
Our summer voyages are mixed gender voyages available to youth over the age of 15 yrs. Past voyages have included trips to Jamestown, VA; Tall Ship Festivals in different US locations; the Canadian Maritimes; Azores; service missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti; and more. The educational component is determined by the purpose and objectives of the voyage. A summer voyage is an enhanced experience that involves a watch system to accommodate overnight sailing; increased ship responsibility; and a greater test of resilience.
And it CAN and IS PROVEN to create pathways to a mechanical, technical and maritime education, careers, and/or employment.
As of this writing, for 2015-16, we've had -- OVER 300 STUDENTS on a 5 day voyage, 29 more for rotary exchange, with engagement of 36 teachers.
The expected outcome is that our youth become more productive citizens and understand the value of experiential learning. Of the 107 students who have participated in this school year to date, approximately 85% of those polled reported an improvement in their ability to take responsibility for themselves, both in word and deed. Roughly 50% of those surveyed documented being better able to perform as part of a team, as well as an increased capacity to listen to and try to understand others.
The Bermuda Sloop Foundation's youth development programme is designed to result in improved character and resilience in students. The measurable results we expect to see are similar to those well-documented in the sail training literature: the ability to work with others, understand the value of being responsible, etc. Through well- defined and purposeful educational activities related to these goals, we see positive results. Our core ethos is to use sail training to inspire and change lives. The sail training experience against the backdrop of the Bermuda natural environment provides the ideal expeditionary learning classroom.
Student Testimonials 2015-2016
Spirit of Bermuda
** As written by the students in their Voyage Passports **
I learned that you have to talk to people to understand ~Davonte (Clearwater Middle School)
My high tide for today was going swimming, sailing and seeing the team Oracle boats go cross the others ~Kaniyah (Clearwater Middle School)
I learned how to work with a team and co-operate with others and not to be negative to others and always treat others how I would want them to treat me. ~Andrew (Clearwater Middle School)
I want to remember that without a team you cant always do a job. And when it’s time to do work than save all the playing for free time. But most of all I want to remember that the food on the boat is good. ~Davonte (Clearwater Middle School)
I want to remember that without a team you cant always do a job.
I am a changed man (boy) after tonight! I feel like I overcame some fears.
The ship is certified under the ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) standards. Although there is no formal body to be accredited by, our programs follow best practices for experiential learning and youth development in the sail training industry. In 2007, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation won the highly respected Best Sail Training Program Award from ASTA (American Sail Training Association).