A great accomplishment for lots of youngsters was highlighted in the newspaper last week, when 48 primary school students received their sailing diplomas from Sint Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC) after nine months of hard work, learning, and fun.
SMYC promotes sailing amongst young people for many different reasons, including the fact that the sport builds confidence and life skills, which can be used for fun and competition, as well as being useful in future jobs.
Making the news even better, this group was double the size of last season’s group, thanks to outside funding. Last season, 24 students from two schools took part. This year, 48 students from four primary schools took part, with 12 students from each school. They began in September 2022 and enjoyed free weekly sailing and swimming classes throughout the school year, concluding this month. The same number will take part for the next season!
Participating schools were Sister Regina Primary School, Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Leonard Connor Primary School, and the All Children Educate Foundation. Classes were also provided to the Youth Brigade. The students received their sailing diplomas, while being cheered on by teachers, parents, instructors and SMYC staff. The onlookers were also invited to view their last class.
“It is wonderful to see how much progress the students made throughout the year. At the beginning of the season, many of them felt anxious about being near the water or sailing a boat. But now, after nine months of swimming and sailing, most of the students can confidently sail on their own, and everyone has become comfortable in the water. This will be a valuable life skill for the students, that they will enjoy for the rest of their life,” said Sam Peeks, sailing instructor at the SMYC.
The programme also included a “Swim 2 Sail” segment, so that kids could improve their swimming skills before joining the sailing programme. Some 15 children did so, under supervision of Mr. Busby.
Outside funding makes the programme possible. The doubling of the programme size was credited to funding from the R4CR programme. SMYC also credited local businesses, private sponsors and subsidy for programme funding, including ICE (Independent Consulting Engineers), Lagoon Marina, the Gustavia Yacht Club and the Government Sports Department.
For lots of nice pictures, ask an adult to visit www.smyc.com/photos.