The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater offers a variety of ecology-based experiences to thousands of youth and adults each year. We make it a priority to reach out to urban and rural areas and minorities who are often underserved in this capacity. One of the most successful parts of Clearwater’s “Next Generation of Environmental Leaders” initiative is our three-day program called Young Women at the Helm (YWH).
Application Deadline: June 15th, 2013
Program Dates: July 24-26, 2013
The program begins with outreach visits to several community groups and schools in low-income, urban areas throughout the Hudson Valley. Annually, 20-25 young women are accepted to the three-day program and participate in various on-board and onshore activities.
Studies show that young women’s self-esteem tends to plummet in their mid teens, and we use the platform of our “Sailing Classroom” to counteract that tendency. One of the goals of the YWH program has been to involve participants in activities that challenge them physically and mentally and introduce them to women who have succeeded in careers considered non-traditional for women. These role models include guest speakers and leaders from the community and the Clearwater captain herself, Beth Deal.
Participants sample different experiential activities covering ecology and pollution, sailing, and navigation and then choose one of topics for their learning focus. Each group also learn one boat-related skill (such as deploying the fishing net, climbing aloft or raising sail), that they will perform on their own on Day Three. The two nights are spent ashore camping and meeting with female guest speakers from professions such as blimp pilots, politicians, doctors and sea captains. At the end of the program, each group presents what they have learned to their peers
This experience profoundly affects the young women. Anna Meyer, a participant from 2008 recalls, “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.”
This program has served as a springboard for continuing involvement with our organization and the environmental field; many alumni return to volunteer and crew with Clearwater. This on-going involvement is how Clearwater’s “Pipeline” promotes our mission of creating green jobs and future environmental leaders in the Hudson Valley.
Every summer since 1990, Clearwater has been providing this program free of charge to young women who would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience sail instruction, environmental education and rigorous leadership training.
Each three-day program costs approximately $1,000 per student to provide our top-notch educational experience, under the supervision of a professional crew on our coast guard certified 70-ton wooden ship. We hope to continue expanding our capacity to inspire a wider pool of future environmental stewards, marine scientists and community leaders.
Young Women at the Helm -Sailing sloop gives girls leadership lesson
Jennifer L. Warren – Times Herald-Record
Young Women at the Helm application (download)
Young Women at the Helm application (online)