Clearwater’s Young Men at the Helm program is a leadership training program for boys ages 15 to 18 from the Hudson Valley. Participants spend three days sailing aboard the sloop studying local ecology, heritage, navigation and maritime skills. The young men challenge themselves physically, participating in sailing the Clearwater, and fishing, hiking and camping along the banks of the Hudson.
Application Deadline: June 15
Program Dates: July 31-August 2nd, 2013
The sloop Clearwater is an historic 106-foot tall ship that offers a variety of ecology-based experiences to thousands of youth and adults each year. We make it a priority to reach out to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience sail instruction, environmental education, and the rigorous leadership training we provide.
The program begins with outreach visits to several community groups and schools in low-income, urban areas throughout the Hudson Valley. Each year 20-25 young men are accepted to the three-day program.
Participants sample different experiential activities covering ecology, navigation, maritime life and history, then choose one of topics for their learning focus. Broken into groups, each “watch” also learns one boat-related physical skill such as docking the vessel or raising sail that they will perform on their own. At the end of the program, each group presents what they have learned to their peers.
The Young Men at the Helm program introduces participants to inspiring guest speakers and role models. The two nights spent ashore camping provides this opportunity to meet with guest speakers such as community leaders, elected officials, environmentalists, scientists, historians, and sea captains who provide insights into potential career choices.
A recent participant shared, “It most definitely made me grow and gain confidence … by teaching me how to be a leader and to never quit, to always keep going even when it’s tough.”
Clearwater’s Youth Empowerment Programs was piloted with the “Young Women at the Helm” porgram that provided young women from the Hudson Valley with the life changing opportunity to sail aboard our historic tallship. Due to its great success, Clearwater launched the first ever “Young Men at the Helm” program in August of 2009.
Under the supervision of our professional crew on our coast guard certified 70-ton wooden ship, we hope to continue expanding our capacity and reach to inspire a wider pool of future environmental stewards, marine scientists, and community leaders.