Nothing like closing out the year with full steam, as our group of young longboaters literally learns the ropes. Bravo Team is in full swing, and getting the feel for their equipment, crewmates, and the changing season. Our first month on the water has been full of laughter, fumbles, and ironing out the details as we all get to know each other and align our bodies, hearts, and minds to become a cohesive team on the water. We have put the sails up several times now and are getting better at leaving and returning to the dock. These seemingly simple tasks are like an orchestra—everyone has to work together, know their role, as well as the role of the person next to them, and communicate clearly as to what they are doing, all while listening for direction and keeping watch of their surroundings. Students rotate through roles each week, so they all get a chance at different tasks as well as opportunities to just watch and observe the crew in action.
It is a privilege to watch the returning crew set examples for new students and to hear the new students say things like, “When I’m out here on the water immersed in my tasks, I forget about all the little things that usually bug me,” or to watch as their eyes light up as we are greeted and squawked at by birds, seals, porpoises, and sea lions. As they learn their roles they are becoming more engaged, asking questions, and appreciating the quiet we find out on the sea.
We are also learning about the power of observation; how being mindful of our environment makes us better prepared to handle it and more appreciative of it; how being a more effective communicator makes you a more effective teammate; and that humor is welcome and encouraged.
We drafted our ship’s article, which is essentially a small flag with an agreed-upon contract written on it by the students. Each student gets to choose something that makes a great team. They share that with the group, and if everyone agrees, it goes on our flag. Today that flag flew, as did courage, kindness, patience, spirit of adventure, compassion, respect, and trust!
Look for us out on the water and give us a friendly wave. We will be sure to return the kind gesture!