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Trips with the Sailboat

Trips with the Sailboat
Trips with the Sailboat | ©: Michael Bührke -

Defying the raging elements in a team effort while at the same time experiencing an unusual adventure is the single one thing that the young people take home from the sailing tour. The core experience would be that each kid has to fulfil an exact entrusted task. That’s the only way to make sure that the sailing trip becomes a successful event. The fact that participants are pushed to their limits will melt the group together within a short time.

Small teams or large groups?

In the framework of experiential learning, short trips with a dinghy and longer trips with cutters are offered. Both excursions have their advantages and disadvantages. In small teams, the participants learn team play above all. On small boats, everything they do should fit right away. When going out with cutters, particularly if they extend their trip out into the high sea for several days, social behaviour is highly required. You need to learn to get along and resolve conflicts quickly. Obviously, on a ship there at not much possibilities for an individual to retreat. A successful trip on a cutter depends on joint work of all.

Sailboat Trip
Segeltörn | ©: gila -

Going on a sailing trip does not only depend on good teamwork. Participants need courage, perhaps have to overcome their fears and change “their spots” so to say. For example, if one member gets sea sick in the high sea, he can’t just go off board. He has to overcome his nausea and push on. However, it is up to the youth workers discretion to ensure that there is also someone else who could take on the sick mate’s jobs, just in case his sea sickness gets the better of him.

What is for the team leader to consider?

The supervisor should not set sail soon after everybody’s arrival. True, each participant could learn his tasks as the trip goes along and if needed, the captain could bring the cutter to shore all by himself. For a better integration of the group and the success of the trip, it is advisable for all to spend one last day on shore before they hoist up the sails. This will help to get to know each other as well as the youth worker could use the time to give the kids a crash course in the basic concepts and right behaviour on board.

That’s what young people learn on a sailing trip

Sailboat Trip with Youth
Sailboat Trip with Youth | ©: Dagmar Schmidt -

Sailing trips over several days are considered ideal to reach the desired effect. Only then will the young people learn how to resolve conflicts without violence, when they live together in a confined space for a prolonged period. This helps them to expand their intellectual horizons and also enhances their communication skills. At the same time, their self-confidence will be strengthened.

The fact is, on board you have a permanently assigned task and the rest of the group relies on you to fulfil it. These permanently assigned tasks give the young people an additional sense of authority over the other group members and even the adults.

An almost side-effect of this sailing trip is that the young people also learn practical and technical skills. They learn life skills under difficult conditions. In this context, however, the immediate experience of nature is secondary to this experimental educational event.

More informations and ideas concerning outdoor education

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