Schooner Martha Foundation Programs
The Schooner Martha Foundation has been engaged in youth and adult sail-training for 14 years. The soul of our program resides in the understanding of the need for inspiration and engagement in any educational system. When we speak of education and sail training we are essentially talking about the transfer of information in three forms: experiential, intellectual, and emotional. The program's goal is to immerse the student into a hands-on-discipline, using sailing and seamanship as a teaching model. By subordinating the individual to the needs of the ship and her people, an understanding develops of the relationship between teamwork and leadership. Sail trim, navigation, and seamanship lessons become a thematic conveyance. Classic discipline and hands on experience combine with a developing self esteem, this creates a dynamic process of inspiration which induces the student to lean into life, in whatever their endeavor. The ship is also a micro-community that all the students must learn to engage and become a part of making things work. Resources such as fresh water and fuel are limited; forcing students to make some choices that they are not usually asked to do in their daily lives. Daily tasks on board have meaning. Keeping the ship operating smoothly and efficiently is essential and becomes a source of pride. This program provides a dynamic interplay between the students of our community and the maritime heritage in the Puget Sound. The students will be actively engaged in the kinds of experiences, which they would have otherwise just have been able to read about. We feel strongly about giving local students a chance to participate in this type of education. Part of our mission is to simply "get people out on the water." See what it looks like to approach Pt Wilson from the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Get a different perspective on life and the town where they live. The discipline of sail-training is composed of endless intersections of science, technology, economics, and art; and has been recognized as a multi-disciplined educational system for over a century. Few other educational processes combine these elements with such intensity. None has comparable power to stimulate young minds by combining learning and adventure.
Many of our youth are disengaged from school and the work place. Many of the local marine trades businesses report that the youth applying for work are not qualified for entry level work and need training yet there is no formal training being offered. Local boat schools are expensive and are not always willing to provide a scholarship to a "young mercurial student". The Foundation works with young people who are interested in the marine trades as a potential profession but lack the skill set for job entry. We integrate young people into our winter projects providing access to tools and training. Working side by side with skilled professionals students are able to become part of the project and learn job skills. Those that become accomplished are introduced to the appropriate companies or the boat school with our recommendation and endorsement.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
For Martha's centennial we reached an important milestone, as part of her restoration plan we were able to raise the capital needed to completely restore Martha's hull and be ready for our 2008 season. We also were able to shepherd a young man who needed some stability into our vocational training program. He responded well and became pride full of his good work we then helped him through boat school and is now fully employed with a local boat shop.
We are close to finishing our restoration projects, only two remain, a new foremast and ballast keel replacement. The foremast project is estimated to cost $32,000 of which we have raised $15,000. The ballast keel replacement is estimated to cost $49,000 we have not started to raise these funds as yet. We also have a scholarship fund which we are all ways actively seeking donations for.