Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outward Bound

It is a clear morning here on the coast of Maine. The Atlantic looks calm from the top of Munjoy Hill, the fog from yesterday has evaporated and with it my short vacation from work. I'm committing domestic suicide by leaving today, any hope for a normal June ashore pretending to be an unemployed mariner is gone. Instead I'll be back on the payroll today when I join the schooner Westward and begin working for the Ocean Classroom Foundation.

My first employer after graduating from college OCF has been running sail training for youth at sea for many, many years. In thier words; "Ocean Classroom Foundation is an educational organization that provides programs of sea education and adventure for the youth of America aboard the schooners Westward, Spirit of Massachusetts and Harvey Gamage. Ocean Classroom Foundation is a leader in experiential education, with award-winning programs sailing from the Canadian Maritimes to the Caribbean Sea. Programs vary from one-day, to one-week, to semester long adventures for middle school, high school and college students; custom programs for schools, youth and community organizations and continuing education for American history teachers."

I'm looking forward to the next three weeks as a break from my normal work routine which honestly isn't as fulfilling as it once was. Working with students, in this case Outward Bound participants, is a challenge unlike anything I've experienced in the Merchant Marine. Unlike cadets, most of whom seem like they've been forced to be at sea as an unfortunate requirement of a free four year education, these students (Or their parents) are paying to spend three weeks of their summer learning how to operate a traditional sailing vessel and will be eager to soak up everything the crew and instructors have to show them.

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