Sea-Fever blog


The Blink of an Eye – Building Boats with Kids (video) by Peter A. Mello
January 3, 2013, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Education, Experiential education, life, maritime | Tags: ,

Jamestown Distributors and Off Center Harbor.com produced this great video about building boats with kids. It’s definitely worth watching and is guaranteed to generate a smile or two. Enjoy.



Sad News from the Tall Ships Semester for Girls Today by Peter A. Mello

 Tall Ship Education Academy

From the Tall Ship Education Academy blog:

The Tall Ship Education Academy, like many wonderful non profits, has been losing significant funding over the past year of economic turmoil. Because of this, our Board of Directors recently made the tough decision to suspend operations of the Tall Ship Education Academy for the next year or two.

During this suspension, we will not run our programs: Tall Ship Semester for Girls, Girls Summer at Sea or Women’s Challenge. We will become a fully volunteer organization and close our office at SF State.

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the very first Tall Ship Semester for Girls. As many of you know, the Tall Ship Education Academy began with a pilot project in 1998 run by Caitlin Schwarzman as part of her Masters Thesis at SF State University. Due to its success, Mercy High School supported Caitlin in expanding the one week pilot to a full semester program. In the spring of 1999, twelve girls explored the California and Mexico coast aboard the Californian. The next year, Nettie Kelly joined the 2nd Tall Ship Semester for Girls, as an instructor and the following year became the director of the program.

We are very proud of the work that we have done in providing a life-changing experience for over 125 girls. Our continued contact with these girls shows that they are confidently pursuing education, participating in their community and exploring the world. We will look to this core group of people to be a part of our research efforts in the near future, and as integral members of the next phase of this organization.

In ten years, the Tall Ship Semester for Girls has evolved into a Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited non profit educational organization. We are recognized for providing powerful developmental experiences for Bay Area young women. We are truly a community based organization, depending on the support of individuals, organizations, foundations and institutions for our existence. The suspension of our programs is in some ways a symptom of the health of our community.

We want to thank you for your interest in and support of the Tall Ship Education Academy. We have done our work because you have been a part of our vision for girls’ education. We hope you will continue to play that vital role in our community.

Hopefully their suspension will be short-lived because this is exactly the type of program which we should be encouraging, promoting, supporting and celebrating. It’s where sail training can do it’s best work.

This is what will be missed.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysn4i6chMYk]
YouTube – Tall Ship Semester for Girls

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Every college student in America could benefit from this experience… by Peter A. Mello

Every college student in America the world could benefit from this experience…

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EttobEpldO8]
YouTube – A Five Minute Look at SEA Semester

Great video by Ryan Maneri, an SEA alum and founder of Oystercatcher Media. Ryan also produced SEA Semester – Pursue it!

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New Masthead for The Tabor Boy Project by Peter A. Mello

Tabor-Boy-Header-Fortier

We’ve just tacked over at The Tabor Boy Project with a new masthead (above) and color scheme. While you’re there, check out all of the great new content too!


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Pursue It! The SEA Experience by Peter A. Mello

Following up on my last post about Sea Education Association, here’s an awesome video that captures the spirit of adventure and learning integral to the SEA experience. Enjoy it and pass it on!

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnPxKYHAHr4]
YouTube – SEA Semester – Pursue it


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The Coolest “OverSeas” College Study Program on the Planet! by Peter A. Mello

SEA logo If you are a college student, or know one, who wants to make the most out of your college experience, you (they) have to check out SEA, which stands for Sea Education Association. At SEA, not only will you study “overseas” you’ll study in them too!

Located in Woods Hole, MA, USA, SEA offers semester long college accredited programs on 2 tall ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that challenge you intellectually and physically by combining a sailing adventure of a lifetime with the study of the deep ocean. I could go on and on about the benefits of this experience but SEA president John Bullard already made a most persuasive case here.

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If for some crazy reason John hasn’t convinced you, maybe these short videos shot by program graduates will.

Take your academic career to new heights, literally! Better than looking at a blackboard all day in the middle of January!

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLrmKWz39Xo]
YouTube – Sailing the Pacific- 3

Imagine challenging yourself to do something outside your comfort zone and making some amazing friendships in the process.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MfjUoyvis8]
YouTube – Aloft

How about learning from touching something alive that you actually caught?

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDH0CeCsy64]
YouTube – Squid Jigging on SEA Semester

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lytxMnvyD8]
YouTube – SEA Semester class S213′s Jumbo Squid

And who said school can’t be fun? I guarantee that in the future you will think of the SEA experience more fondly than that Political Science lecture every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0xzwZg6-7s]
YouTube – S-199

Now, if you need a reason for why this might be important to you and the rest of the planet, you have to watch this video of Dr. Bob Ballard’s presentation at the February 2008 TED Conference. There is a whole new world for you to explore and there’s no better opportunity to do so than aboard an SEA tall ship.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHU8G6icwsY]
YouTube – Robert Ballard: Exploring the ocean’s hidden worlds

Finally, some sound advice from Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Launch your SEA adventure here!

photo credit: Meriah Berman via waynepbj on Flickr.com

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Rocking the Boat’s WhiteHall Award by Peter A. Mello

Rocking the Boat White Hall Awards 2008

Most Sea-Fever readers will know that I’m a big fan of the NYC based nonprofit Rocking the Boat. Here’s a link to some previous posts.

This Thursday they’ll be hosting their Annual Whitehall Award event which

recognize(s) leaders in the fields of experiential education, environmental activism, and youth development. The honor is named for the distinctively elegant and practical wooden boat design that forms the majority of Rocking the Boat’s hand-built fleet. The Whitehall represents a “golden period” of maritime design and craftsmanship, its reliable and beautiful form remaining largely consistent since 1690.

This year they’ll be honoring The Public Service Project at Stroock & Stroock  & Lavan LLP and here’s the good work that they do:

The Public Service Project is the cornerstone of Stroock’s longtime commitment to serving the public interest. Created in March 2001 after a century of pro bono service, the Public Service Project provides a broad array of legal assistance, with a special focus on underserved and under-resourced communities in New York City.

A principal goal of the Public Service Project has been to engage in more transactional pro bono work, advising non-profits engaged in serving and rebuilding communities in need.

Stroock’s representation of Rocking the Boat goes back to 2001, when RTB was first getting its oars in the water. Since that time, over two dozen different Stroock attorneys have worked on RTB’s behalf, contributing well over 400 hours of pro bono legal advice, valued at almost a quarter of a million dollars. Stroock has truly become full service general counsel to RTB, calling on lawyers from no fewer than ten departments, including: intellectual property, entertainment, insurance, non-profit, employment and tax. These lawyers have helped RTB with everything from commercial lease issues and environmental law to employment policies and general corporate law advice.

The event is being hosted at the beautiful New York Yacht Club thanks to the generous sponsorship of Stroock, Toyota, LexisNexis and Sims Metal Management. You can still purchase tickets to the event here.

Why am I such a fan of this organization? Read Steve Rappaport’s grat article Rocking the Boat – Old ways teach kids new life lessons in the current issue (Sept./Oct. 2008) of WoodenBoat magazine and you’ll see why.  (download via RTB website.)

If you really need more reason to get excited by this organization, then you better watch this. On second, thought, watch it anyway, you won’t be disappointed!

[GoogleVideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3804036650927743103&ei=_yD9SKGgM5CYrAKhtozrDg&q=rocking+the+boat+bronx]
Building Kids: A short documentary about Rocking the Boat

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A Significant Loss for Sail Training, the sinking of the Irish Asgard II by Peter A. Mello

Asgard II and the Eye of the Wind by Willie Waw on Flickr.com

The Old Blog Cabin reports that the Irish sail training vessel the Asgard II was lost in the Bay of Biscay today. Thankfully, all crew and trainees were picked up by a French Naval vessel and are reported safe. Here are links to the RTE News and Associated Press stories.

The Asgard II was featured in Standing Tall, Sail Training International’s video used to introduce young people to the adventure of sail training.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt8HN8XpQ4w]

In 2000, she crossed the Atlantic as part of the Tall Ships 2000 fleet and was very popular wherever she visited in North America. She will be missed by the youth of Ireland and people from around the globe.

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Schooner Thomas Hoyne and Merlyn’s Pen by Peter A. Mello
August 7, 2008, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Education, Experiential education, sail training, storytelling

Schooner Thomas Hoyne by Peter Mello Aug 7 2008

Last night we returned from a short but great vacation with some friends in a cabin in the Adirondacks.

Today I traveled over to Newport to have lunch with a friend Paul Morse who is the owner of the beautiful little schooner Thomas Hoyne. He invited his friend, Jim Stahl, who is the founder of a terrific teen writing program called Merlyn’s Pen. From their website:

SINCE 1985, Merlyn’s Pen has produced and supported school programs that promote creativity, critical thinking and writing, and self-acceptance. Its most public service since 2001 has been the New Library of Young Adult Writing, which showcases compelling works of fiction and nonfiction authored by America’s teens, grades 6-12. All the works in the New Library appeared first in Merlyn’s Pen: The National of Student Writing, published between 1985 and 2001. The models and standards displayed in the New Library give heart to beginning writers; to advanced teen writers, the Library is an online resource of successful models to explore, engage, and emulate.

This summer Merlyn’s Pen introduced a new maritime themed program called Down to the Sea with Pen and Paper. From all accounts this sold out program aboard Ocean Classroom Foundation’s schooner Harvey Gamage was a smashing success in it’s launch year. Nandini Jayakrishna of The Providence Journal Bulletin wrote a great piece entitled Week’s sail a voyage of discovery for teen writers.

“A lot of time spent writing is spent not writing,” he (Stahl) said. “In terms of hours of day, they were doing more sailing than writing, [but] that’s the writer’s way –– gathering experience that informs those brief inspired moments when the pen is actually on paper.”

Stahl’s already hard at work in creating next year’s program. Better hurry before that one fills up too!


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NY Harbor School: Making Waves in Education by Peter A. Mello

It’s a proud accomplishment for any academic institution to make the front page of the NY Times. For me it’s even more exciting when it one that uses maritime culture and heritage to change the lives of inner city youth and it’s even better when I know some of the people involved.

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Today’s NY Times (June 26, 2008 ) has a great front page article by Sara Rimer about the Urban Assembly’s New York Harbor School entitled Taking Lessons, and Confidence, From the Water. It’s a must read for anyone interested or involved in maritime education. Here’s a link to my previous post, The Privilege of Sailing, that I did on the Harbor School along with co-founder Murray Fisher adding a comment.

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Outcomes are what matters in programs like this and here’s some interesting facts from the article:

The Harbor School has 390 students in grades 9 to 12, 70 percent Latino and 30 percent black, with many from the Caribbean. Last year’s graduation rate was 63 percent, Mr. Fisher said, nearly triple the rate of the old Bushwick High School, which once occupied the same building. The citywide average is about 50 percent.

But more importantly the voices and pictures bring this success story to life. Please don’t miss the audio clips or slide show! If you only have time to do one thing today, please listen to student Jennifer Mendez and teacher Melissa Franco and you will get a better understanding about the power of the sea to teach and change lives!

Yes, she, Jennifer Mendez, 15, the girl from Brooklyn who used to be afraid of the water and everything related to it — fish, boats, bugs — was steering the Lettie up the river, along the Upper West Side. The captain of the ship, Denise Meagher, was standing by. But with her hand on the wheel, Jennifer felt as if she were the captain, responsible for the ship and everyone on it — the crew, her ninth-grade classmates and their science teachers, Roy Arrezo and Ann Fraioli.

A little later, Jennifer would write in her class journal, “I feel as if I can do anything.” Even, she confided, make the honor roll.

“I feel so privileged to learn about the water,” Jennifer wrote in her journal. “The Hudson River is like an ancestor of our past, and if we listen to it, it just might tell tales.”

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Congratulations to the Murray Fisher and Nathan Dudley and all of the professional and volunteer leadership of the Harbor School for creating something special for New York City youth and for a well deserved acknowledgement on the front page of the NY Times! Also, congratulations to all of the Harbor School students who work so hard to make this unique program a success! Like sailing a tall ship, you’re all in the same boat so keep up the great work!

Photo credit: Ruby Washington / NY Times


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