Summer of Youth Empowerment

The last month of July and the first month of August hosted the Clearwater’s Youth Empowerment Programs, Young Men and Young Women at the Helm. These programs are a great way for the Clearwater to bring new people into our fold. The energy that these programs and their participants bring to the boat is often unbelievable. The crew often sees students for just three hours during a typical education program, and then not again unless by chance. But during these programs participants are onboard for three whole days and gain control and agency in the running of the Clearwater deck each day. Watching their progression is inspiring each year.  These programs are in their sixth and thirteenth years of programming, and each year is a learning experience for the crew and an opportunity for us to try something new and exciting.

These programs are an investment in the Hudson River and its watershed. Students come from throughout the Valley and gain a great deal of knowledge about the Hudson and the very real environmental issues that it faces. By training these young folks in watershed education, we help them become more active participants in their environments.

One exciting part of this year has been our collaboration with the Achievement First Charter Network. The Achievement First Charter Network has an extensive summer internship program, which sends students to a wide variety of summer programming each year. This year, four students participated in the Youth Empowerment programs, and then volunteered for a week this summer. The Achievement First students did an amazing job, and watching them grow in their deck skills, their environmental knowledge, and their ownership of the river and the boat has been really wonderful. We hope they will come back for another volunteer week next year!

Shania and Joia breaking silence

Shania and Joia breaking silence

Corey hauling on the peak halyard

Corey hauling on the peak halyard

Alpha seining

Alpha seining

This year we were able to get a great deal of wonderful pictures documenting the programs. View these at our Flickr account.

-Isaac

Young Women take the Helm

Each year about 15 young women from all over the Hudson Valley come together for Clearwater’s Young Women at the Helm. This program brings young people together for an intense three days of adventure, learning, and hard work. The first day always brings wary looks and exclamations of, “You want me to do what?!” But by the end of the third day, the young women are crewing the boat themselves and teaching each other about what they had learned just a few days before. We hope that after the program they can take this mindset back to their lives, use it to overcome challenges and become active players in their own communities and environments.

Here is a smattering of the activities from Young Women at the Helm 2015:
Navigating

Navigating

Furling the jib

Furling the jib

Yawling.

Yawling.

Learning about watersheds in front of Storm King Mountain

Learning about watersheds in front of Storm King Mountain

Touching Eels

Touching Eels

Throwing docklines for Sloop Olympics

Throwing docklines for Sloop Olympics

We did it!

We did it!