Why we love the Junior Sailing Academy Bequia, and why you should too

Junior Sailing Academy Bequia

From soup to nuts, the Junior Sailing Academy Bequia (JSAB) is a prime example of what people can do when they pool their talents and resources, producing something that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Through structured education and training, the JSAB aims to promote sailing skills and career development for youth on Bequia. Shore-based instruction is provided by the Academy’s Training Manager. On-water practical instruction and formal assessment is provided by Sail Grenadines, a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) accredited training and charter company. Grenadines Sails provides sail repair service free of cost

Why we love it

  • In all of that—training, resources, support, admin—the program relies on local expertise and entrepreneurship, providing meaningful employment and authentic engagement. The effects are many:
  • It provides a positive point of contact, one that engages youth within a group of peers around some targeted short-term goals and long-term aspirations.
  • It prepares youth for further education and employment in a key local industry.
  • It prepares them to become trainers and mentors to others, so the model is sustainable over time.
  • It’s visible. The JSAB puts up to 15 boats in the water every Saturday, supported by two safety boats manned by paid local coaches. The sails can be seen from points around Admiralty Bay, which not only looks beautiful, but also draws the attention of local youth.
  • There is no cost to participants, ensuring access to all who can benefit.

What next?

For the 2019-20 period the JSAB is working to build on the success of the 2018 season by providing courses for up to 10 students in two cohorts at the Competent Crew and Day Skipper levels. All going well, a second Competent Crew course will be offered in the fall of 2019.

Math and English (written and spoken) are components of RYA certification, as are CV and job application writing. The JSAB intends to mount a series of courses taught by qualified instructors to help participants meet and exceed the required academic standards. These will make use of the Learning Centre, making it an even richer hub for education and development.

What we can do

In all of that, the JSAB program is a fantastic opportunity to help deliver employment and education to the island community in an efficient and sustainable way. The model is proven and successful, and the room for growth is evident. Financial support is required in order to further scale the program size and scope, though there’s clearly a lot of bang for the buck. For donation, volunteer, and participation details, email me glenherbert@sympatico.ca or visit the GI website. Tax receipts for Canadian and US donors are available on request.