Sail training diary – Day 1 onboard the Sloop Providence

This week I’m going to post about something a little different.

The Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation is one of Sea-Fever Consulting LLC’s clients and today we launched a new sail training program aboard the Continental Sloop Providence for a group of teens from Middletown, RI. This program was made possible by a grant from the American Sail Training Association and is part of their Tall Ships Youth Adventure Program.

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ASTA’s Tall Ships Youth Adventure Program was the result of a federal appropriation under the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and is categorized as a demonstration project. This funding was secured and program created when I was executive director of the American Sail Training Association. Enough of that, let’s get on to the good stuff. Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 1 onboard the Sloop Providence

The Myth About Boys – Time – August 6, 2007

Time Cover - Myth about Boys 08 06 07

This week’s Time magazine cover article, The Myth About Boys by David Von Drehl, should interest anyone involved in youth development, including parents of adolescent boys and girls. The below quote applies equally to both.

“When no one’s looming over them, they begin making choices of their own,” she says. “They discover consequences and learn to take responsibility for themselves and their emotions. They start learning self-discipline, self-confidence, team building. If we don’t let kids work through their own problems, we get a generation of whiners.”

That made sense to me. As I watched the boys at Falling Creek do things that would scare me to death if my own son were doing them–hammering white-hot pieces of metal, clinging to a zip line two stories above a lake, examining native rattlesnakes–I didn’t notice many whining boys.

That sounds a lot like what happens when you put a bunch of kids on a schooner for a sail training experience. Fun and adventure is a powerful elixir for developing character, self confidence, self esteem and self efficacy in youth. Give them “structured freedom” and introduce a little controlled risk and they will grow in amazing, unanticipated and immeasurable directions.

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Leadership is a Muscle – Fast Company July 2007

Chip and Dan Heath, co-authors of the recent bestseller Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die write a monthly column with the same name in Fast Company magazine. Their July 2007 column is entitled Leadership is a Muscle: How is your attitude about your abilities affecting success?

In this interesting article the Heath brothers cite Stanford’s Carol Dweck’s new book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and her research on how we think about intelligence and it’s impact on our performance. Dweck believes that there are two types of mind-sets: fixed and growth.

Tiger Woods is an athlete with a growth mind-set, someone who obsesses about his game and makes incremental improvements. Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox appears to have a fixed mind-set, relying on his enormous natural gifts to succeed (but not as keen on things like attending spring training). All of us blend the mind-sets in our heads. We might say, “I can’t draw.” But few of us would say, “I was born without the ability to ride a bike.”

This Accenture ad captures Dweck’s theory.

Attitude

Continue reading Leadership is a Muscle – Fast Company July 2007

Working Waterfront / Beautiful Ballet

Yesterday the tall ships paraded out of Halifax Harbor and Halifax Webcam got overwhelmed by traffic.

Thousands of people wanted to watch the Parade of Sail with our cameras yesterday but only a part of them was able to. Our server ran at 100% server load almost all the time until the evening.

The server logfile shows 5.5 million hits from about 100,000 different IP addresses just yesterday. We sent out more than 240 GB of data in one day. That’s the traffic of almost two normal weeks in less than 12 hours.

While they were unable to provide every web-viewer a live seat during the parade, they have created two time lapsed videos that offer an interesting and beautiful presentation of a working waterfront. Enjoy!

Continue reading Working Waterfront / Beautiful Ballet

CBS’s Kid Nation

Here’s a trailer for Kid Nation, a new reality TV show.

TV Week website has an interesting article about how CBS was able to put this show together. If the large number of comments to TV Week’s post are any indication, this show is sure to draw lots of attention. Maybe if it was labeled a documentary instead of reality TV it would be less of a lightning rod for controversy. It has some interesting potential; however, I’m cautious because reality TV has a tendency to unnecessarily trivialize things and manufacture drama. I’ll reserve my opinion until after I learn more and actually watch a few episodes.

Maybe its because I am a product of a youth sail training program which I entered as an adolescent at the age of 13 and left as a mature young adult at 17, but I’m not at all upset by having children participate in Kid Nation. Regarding work, sailing on a tall ship required long hours and hard work and it remains to this day one of the most powerful and empowering experiences of my life. These kids were in a controlled environment which was probably safer than the one which many returned to after filming was over. Certainly it was safer than that which the vast majority of America’s youth live in today.

It’s dangerous to underestimate what kids are capable of accomplishing and even more dangerous to overprotect them from unique and valuable experiences that will benefit them for a lifetime.

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