"TopSail does not train youth for lives at sea.. We use the sea to educate youth for life"
How is this achieved? Through providing youth with an educational environment where they can win without having to risk losing, it is the process of helping youth realize their own potential while demonstrating the benefits of teamwork and cooperation . Topsail allows youth to communicate , to listen and learn how to accept and enjoy differences, rather than to distrust them. It is done by creating an environment where youth are complemented for striving, not competing because self-esteem isn’t given, it is earned.
A classic sailing vessel is a unique and challenging educational environment that nurtures the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are necessary for the education of today's youth, aids teaching in the classroom, encourages youth to explore and respond. One the most profound experiences of Topsail is the simple act of climbing aloft. Youth conquer fear and depend upon no one but themselves. It requires a different kind of courage. Youth achieve a point of view that is radically different, a symbolic represention of leaving the chaos and confusion behind that youth experience daily. They've conquered a life changing experience by themselves coupled with a sympathetic ear, the ability of coming to terms with ideas of unburdening and an unconditional love to face any challenges they encounter. The youth come into an immediate environment that is composed of a completely integrated array of learning that must be operated with both mind and muscle engaged. The rules under which this system function are both simple and demanding. They are the rules of nature imposed fairly and consistently with excitement and pride all at once. Our crew is there to encourage, teach and advise the youngsters but not to do the work for them. All the students are active participants and no one person can do it themselves. It takes six strong bodies just to raise the mainsail. Topsail is not a harbor cruise., it an educational adventure. Adventure is exploration and discovery. Webster's Dictionary defines it as “an exciting or remarkable experience”. Topsail Youth Progran strives to provide that with the target of changing lives for the better.
Each and every day of Topsail is different from the other, which makes each outing educational. Science, mathematics, physics, biology, geography, history, literature, and even poetry suddenly come to life in this real world classroom. There are no hard and fast destinations to make, no time-table-set-in-concrete to follow, no agenda that can not be deviated from. Each day we go where wind, water, and the desire to succeed take us. Each trip is the unique product of the youth of that group on that particular day.