This season we changed the format of our sessions: previously we held only one session per day; this season we trialled conducting two sessions on each day. Although this meant for a more challenging time for Alen, who organises these activities, this format proved to work well, and will be followed in the future.
February 10, 2017
In the morning we hosted South Gippsland Specialist School who came along with 11 students and 3 carers. We had 13 club volunteers keen to be involved and ready to help provide our visitors with another exciting boating experience.
Whilst the usual fitting of lifejackets and allotting of participants to specific boats was taking place, one very unhappy and agitated young fella, who was obviously having a bad day, was sitting alone and wanted nothing to do with anyone else. After one of the carers spoke with him, and a couple of failed attempts to communicate with him by a couple of club volunteers, Alen and the carers accepted that it was best to leave him alone and not push the issue of his participation in the boating experience.
After the others had left and things were a lot quieter, a couple of the club members made another attempt to communicate with the young bloke. This time the response was more favourable, and conversation began – in fact, quite enthusiastic conversation. After a while the discussion was directed toward boats, and the question was asked, “Would you like to come for a ride in our club boat?” The instant answer was in the affirmative, and very soon he was in the boat with a carer and 2 club crew members.
Well, he had a fantastic time! He spent the whole trip with a huge smile on his face, and constantly engaged in conversation. He thrilled at seeing seals; and was an excellent helmsman. And when we drew up near the other boats, he proudly and energetically waved and interacted with those on board.
This was a very rewarding experience for all involved. And when the other children come back gushing about their fishing skills or the seals they saw, or whatever, combined with the measure of observed satisfaction projecting from the volunteers, the value of these sessions is obvious.
In the afternoon, 6 students and 3 carers from the Bass Coast Specialist School joined 14 volunteer members for their session. A couple of the participants in this group are well known by the club members for their love of fishing; and again they arrived complete with all the gear and enthusiasm that promised a bountiful catch and an enjoyable afternoon. Unfortunately, only the latter prevailed. But their spirits were by no means extinguished, and there was keen discussion about the next time……
March 28, 2017
Again we hosted the two specialist schools over two sessions, having a combined 16 students and 5 carers. And again we had a good roll-up of 13 club volunteers.
Unfortunately, the water was a little rough in the afternoon, and the fishermen had to move around a bit to find ‘the big ones’ – again with limited success. But there was a highlight for them when the vessel they were in got its anchor hooked on something in the gutter just outside the marina; and they had to be ‘rescued’ by being transferred into the club boat – which returned after dropping off the ‘rescued’ to help free the anchor. Something else to talk about back at school…..
April 27, 2017
On this grey and overcast day we were visited by 6 participants and 3 carers from Yooralla, Leongatha, in the morning; and 6 participants and 2 carers from Interchange, Wonthaggi. As the conditions were a bit bleak and cool to be out in the cockpit of a yacht, more comfortable power boats were used for the outings on this day.
Well done to Alen and all the volunteers for another successful Sailability season.
If you are a sailor or a fisherman and you want to become involved in our Sailability program, please contact Alen Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org, or myself at email@example.com.