Sailing for Tomorrow is our unique humanitarian, therapeutic and educational project designed for children with mental and physical disabilities that Sport Club SAPPA is organizing every year.

 

 

Background of the organization

 

 

Sports Club SAPPA from Kamnik, Slovenia was founded for the purpose of promoting and popularizing an active, healthy way of life through free-time sports and recreation.

 

In 2009, SAPPA, in cooperation with field experts, we formed and started a unique therapeutic and educational project, designed for children with mental and physical disabilities – Sailing for Tomorrow.

 

The same year we developed, organized and executed “Sailing for Tomorrow,” our first community outreach program, providing a day of sailing in the Slovene sea for special needs children.

 

In 2011 we developed, organized, expanded and executed one day of “Sailing for Tomorrow,” a therapeutic and educational program for invalid children from the Institution for Education and Rehabilitation of disabled Youth (CIRIUS), Kamnik .

 

In 2012 we organized and executed the first four-day “Sailing for Tomorrow” program, on five boats in the Croatian sea, for special needs children from five Slovene schools.

 

With field expert professor Mrs. Jasna Lampe, we prepared a 26-page thematic workbook to co-ordinate with the event.

 

In 2013 and 2014 we organized and executed our second and third four-day “Sailing for Tomorrow” program, on six boats in the Croatian sea, for special needs children from six Slovene schools. For the first time ever children from Institute for the blind and partially sighed youth from Ljubljana were sailing too. All project documentation was translated into Braille.

 

Sport Club SAPPA is regularly covered by local, regional and national media, giving us an opportunity to present our activities and sponsors. Our project was also presented at the Eurodesk, the web portal, under the auspices of European Commission.

 

 

Project purpose

 

Sailing for Tomorrow has been designed for the purposes of helping disabled children build self-esteem, practical competencies, and social skills through confronting and interacting with nature in a controlled and safe environment. 

 

The program elements have been developed in co-ordination with licensed, professional teachers and social workers, who are constantly present through-out the four-day event, teaching, leading, and caring for the children.

 

While experiencing the fascination of sailing and developing a personal connection with the sea, the children participate as active members of the crew. They form new acquaintances and strike up new friendships based on a unique, shared experienced.

 

The days spent sailing offer an opportunity for social integration, and the pedagogical program specifically targets skill development in the areas of tolerance, mutual understanding, and peaceful resolution of conflict.

 

The sea, the sailboats, and crewing all demand mutual care, attention, and respect. Over the course of the four-day program, the children are given the opportunity to learn how to take personal responsibility for themselves and others, how to work in a team, how to manage fear, worries, and disputes with others, and how to express a healthy competitive spirit.

 

The skills that participating children develop over the term of the program impact their on-going daily lives. Those skills enumerated above are necessary for full integration into Slovenian society.  Participants leave the program with a new sense of self-worth and a belief in their own abilities to strive, learn, and do.  According to their teachers, this is a highly beneficial jump-start for the disabled children, who must prepare for going out into the world, holding down a job, and becoming, to the fullest extent possible, contributing members of society who can share in the fullness of life.

 

Children and their educators/attendants from each school are staying together on the same sailboat through all four days of the project.

 

 

Project justification

 

In the past, special needs children have been described as “suffering with” mental and physical disabilities. As long as this terminology remains, these children will continue to live in a kind of isolation: they often attend segregated schools; their activities opportunities are limited by lack of accessibility and by a social intolerance; their striving for independence is thwarted by a focus on their limitations instead of their potentials; they suffer reduced social status; they all-too-often lack a public voice.

 

By working closely with professionals in the fields of child development, children with disabilities, and special education, we have been able to create a program that acknowledges what may be a more appropriate definition of the majority of our special needs children: those who are challenged by, or living with mental and physical disabilities.

 

Activities and opportunities to engage with society and the world at large, activities that combine physical activity and social interaction, activities that combine therapeutic and life-skills strategies, are life-changing.  Educators and field professionals who participate in the program and those who work with the children before and after the program, attest to observable positive changes in the everyday attitudes and behaviors of the students.

 

 

Project sustainability

 

The desire of special needs schools for SAPPA’s Sailing for Tomorrow program is clear: each year, the number of participating schools has expanded, though for reasons of logistics, cost, and safety, SAPPA will continue to limit the program to six boats. 

 

 

Project dates

 

36 children and youth with special needs, 12 pedagogues-companions and 14 crew (club’s) members are embarking on six sailboats and start a four days event.

It is scheduled at the end of May and it is taking place at the marina Veruda, near town Pula, Croatia.

 

 

Detailed description of the project activities

 

Day one – Wednesday

  • Arrive at marina Veruda, near Pula, breakfast, embarking
  • Sailing to nearby bay, all together anchoring, swimming, lunch, sailing back to the marine
  • Presentation and distribution of  the "Sailling for Tomorrow" workbook
  • Poseidon’s oath of young sailors
  • On-boat educational and animation program

 

Day two – Thursday

  • Breakfast on boats
  • Lesson with "Sailling for Tomorrow" workbooks
  • Sailing trip to Islands of Brioni, tour with tourist train all over the biggest island of Veli Briun, including Safari Park, visiting the island museum, lunch, return sail
  • Writing and collecting wishes from the children, putting them into a bottle that is then corked with sealing wax
  • Dance

 

Day three – Friday

  • Breakfast on boats
  • Lesson with "Sailling for Tomorrow" workbook
  • Group photographs
  • Sail to Cape Kamenjak, tossing the wish bottle into the sea, anchoring, lunch, swimming, return sail
  • Completing "Sailling for Tomorrow" workbooks
  • Final evening; presentation program with participants of all schools, magician, bingo, theme quiz, dance

 

Day four – Saturday

  • Breakfast on boats
  • Disembarking
  • Returning home

 

 

Other sources of support for this project

 

As a sports club we are a non-profit organization. The entire project is funded partly by our own fund, partly by contributions of participants and partly through donations and sponsorships.  Everything that all members of the club are doing regarding the project is voluntary work.

 

Project safety measures

  • At the initial meeting with the teachers/attendants, organized a month before sailing, we inform them abut exact rules, instructions and precautions that are in the port and during their stay on the boat - moored or during the sailing
  • before project started attendants, especially those who already have experience with sailing, inform young participants with all this details
  • during preparation for the project written statement about child swimming abilities is obtain from parents or guardians of participants
  • After the arrival of the participants into the port we first inform and instruct them about safe entry onto and off the vessel
  • When the crew members of each boat together with attendants allocate participants into the cabins skipper of the boat show, describe and explain to them what and when they are allowed to do. Where and when they can move and under what conditions, what can they do on their own and what only with the presence or crew or attendants
  • From teachers/attendants that knows everything about the condition and capabilities of their children we obtain all the information about which children can access sanitation pier themselves and those that will need mandatory escort - precise coordination is organized in this regard
  • All children get colored bracelets with their name and hotline phone number of our sport club on (color is depending on the color of the signal flag from the boat on which they are)
  • Port staff and management is thoroughly familiar with our project and provides us extraordinary support - they give us all performance spaces, provide us detailed contacts for emergency first aid at the port and on the sea and their security personnel is particularly watchful to our little sailors
  • sailing out of the port is strictly dependant on appropriate weather conditions – clear weather with no forecast of precipitation, light to moderate wind and sea with only slight waves
  • In accordance with the rules when leaving off and arriving into the port all the children and their attendants have to sit in the cockpit
  • For all children that are non-swimmers using of life jacket is mandatory during the voyage, for others life jackets are prepared in the hold
  • If the skipper considers to be appropriate shipping conditions, children can leave the cockpit during the voyage, move and seat on the deck only with the permission and with physical accompaniment by crew member
  • Participants are also involved in 'sailing' tasks - raising and lowering sails, folding rope in the cockpit, they can also try the real skippers task – handling the rudder, all this under skippers and crew members surveillance
  • For all children Coris insurance for abroad is secured