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Youth on Board

A Project of

When the first Tall Ships® Tacoma event occurred in 2005 it became very evident how important sail training was to young people.  So, when planning began for the 2008 festival, Clare Petrich, festival co-chair, was committed to ensuring the youth of Pierce County have the opportunity to crew aboard a tall ship. With support from partners Metro Parks, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Sea Scouts, the Youth on Board Committee was formed. Helen McGovern, past president of the Lakewood Rotary, joined the team to help with scholarship fundraising. 

The committee’s goal was to provide opportunities for youth ages 14-17 to learn about sail training by boarding ships in Victoria, British Columbia, and participating in the Tall Ships® CHALLENGE. The intent was to bring a diverse group together to learn the thrills of sailing. Youth sail training also became part of the general mission statement for the Tacoma Tall Ships® Organization.

The YOB team solicited participants throughout Pierce County. Funding came from the Kilworth Foundation, the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Rotary clubs, the Washington Public Ports Association, the Propeller Club, the Longshore Local 22, and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Youth on Board participants were berthed on three ships -- the Adventuress, the Zodiac and the Mycia. Each of these ships showed their commitment to youth training by offering discounted berth rates. Without that agreement, the program would not have been possible.

All 48 youth who completed the selection process were accepted. Some of the youth had sailing experience, some had never been on a boat, and some had never been away from home before. The youth who were accepted come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Seven chaperones accompanied the youth on their adventure.

The Sea Scouts provided training aboard the SS Odyssey on May 17 to prepare the teens for their crew experience and to give them a chance to meet their future ship mates.

Early June 29 a bus transported the trainees to the ships for their three-day adventure. The ships arrived in Tacoma on July 2 and three of the trainees will be selected to sail on a vessel during the July 3 Parade of Sail.

Read the Youth on Board Poetry submissions.

For more information about Youth on Board, contact Lori Crace at loric (at) tacomaparks (dot) com or call (253) 305-1076.   Please note that applications to participate in the program are no longer accepted.