I Got to Steer the Boat

The kids from Jefferson Elementary studied Marine History and smiled a lot.  Their comments and questions about sailing and history were engaging and non-stop – in the TISC activity center and while sailing on Clipper Cove.

I have a new sure-fire way to select titles for Set Sail Learn blogs – just ask the kids.  “Can you please give me six words that describe your day here at TISC” usually works like a champ.  One smiling fourth immediately replied “I got to steer the boat.” Bingo- blog title.IMG_8537

Always nice to see self-confidence in so many kids who in general have not been on San Francisco Bay, certainly have not sailed or actually touched the water and in many cases have not been over the Bay Bridge.

As you can see they were psyched up and ready for the day when they arrived.  Of course smiling goes both ways – our lead instructor Zoe Wadkins can also light up a room with her smile.IMG_8479 IMG_8498

After introduction, paperwork is passed and safety drills are completed.  Then kids are split into two groups.  While first group departs our dock for Clipper Cove the second spend time in the activity center on the day’s lesson. IMG_8486

TISC provides workbooks in advance of each class.  They cover Renewable Energy, Ecology of the Bay or Marine History depending on which curriculum was selected by their teacher.  Jefferson selected Marine History.IMG_8507

We used the term “activity center” or “learning center” to describe the inside space where SSL and other classes meet.  Classroom seems too formal, we have stand-up tables not desks, and sitting down is not part of our curriculum.IMG_8505Sailing on Clipper Cove provides SFUSD fourth graders the opportunity to touch the water, feel the wind, and truly connect to our environment.  We feel this type of hands-on is one of the best ways to instill stewardship into the minds and bodies who will one day bring their families sailing and boating on Clipper Cove, SF Bay and other great playgrounds.IMG_8522

Kids study wind, tides and currents while out on the RS Ventures.  Centrally located, Clipper Cove provides views of key landmarks in all directions. IMG_8560

IMG_8678-SSL Framed by CC and SFThese fourth graders may some day attend UC Berkeley and look up at the iconic clock tower. Or they may sail down to Alameda and see the massive container ships being unloaded. The huge Bay Bridge tower is clearly visible from the TISC dock.  The camera lens can be deceiving, often giving the impression of sailing much closer to these SF landmarks that are so visible from Clipper Cove.IMG_8582

IMG_8661-crSailing on Clipper Cove also provides fourth graders with the opportunity to see our world from a different perspective.  For example looking up at the Bay Bridge tower rather than down onto San Francisco Bay.IMG_8492

Of course no matter which direction the boats are heading the kids are clearly happy. Smiles are standard issue for kids in boats.  Here are more Clipper Cove smiles: July Smiles On Clipper Cove.IMG_8656 IMG_8622

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Other classes have studied about renewable energy and the ecology of the bay.  Here’s the story behind “the crab is in” sign in the activity center:  JYC Kids’ Crabby Day at TISC.

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By the time we finish the Fall 2015 Set Sail Learn classes at the end of this month more than 3,000 San Francisco Unified School District fourth graders will have benefited from the TISC Set Sail Learn Program.

Regards, from on the Cove, Dave G

In the Wake:

Here are links to previous SSL blogs with more smiles and lessons learned.

TISC Teaches Life Lessons: Like Teamwork For Example

TISC uses sailing as a platform to teach life lessons including goal setting, teamwork, communications, and leadership and develop self-esteem.  We raise money for scholarships so that no child is ever turned away. This blog is about teamwork.

Teamwork can be a challenging concept out in the real world.  Working together on Clipper Cove, however, seems to come naturally to most kids.  Smiles and good times overshadow the fear of new adventures or working in a group of new friends.

Here are a few examples of teamwork in action from Treasure Island Sailing Center. A great place to start is at the beginning of the season when volunteers, many from our V15 fleet, gather to install our docks and ramps.DockInstall TeamTeamwork lowering dock section Dock Cleaning TeamAs I was reviewing teamwork pictures from the year I realized that even before the docks went in volunteers were at work transporting our J/24 fleet to and from Bay Marine Boatworks for new bottom jobs.Launch Newly Painted HullDelivery Team Bill and Peter Homeward BoundStepping masts on BUGs is first on the menu during our fall session sailing classes which started last week.Mast Stepping TeamInstructor and TeamTeamwork is required for hoisting J/24 sails.  The first picture below was from an early season outreach program with kids from the San Francisco Expeditionary School.  The second was taken during set sail exercises in anticipation of a June sail with visually impaired sailors from the Morin Sailing School Program for the Blind.Team Hoisting J24 Main Visually Impaired Orientation TeamOpening day provided many opportunities for teamwork in preparation for the 850+ visitors who attended a variety of event on land and on the water.Opening Day PrepThere are always plenty of opportunities out on the water for demonstrating teamwork whether sailing or paddling.  The Cal Berkeley Sailing Team practices at TISC during their season. They sail here and also team up with our shore-based team.

CalSailing Team Sailing Flat We launched the first-ever Co-Able sailing camp on San Francisco Bay – a partnership between Treasure Island Sailing Center and the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors.  This unique program was run out of Pier 40.co-able smiles with MM Kayaking is another “team sport” that ranks high with TISC kids.Teamwork on KayakWhile the objective of sailing is to stay in the boat most of the time, we stress the importance of feeling comfortable in the water.  And in many cases kids just like working together to scramble from the water back into a boat.Capsize Recovery Team SF Exped. Teamwork climbing aboard

Teamwork also counts out on the water.  Friendships are built, smiles are shared.  Exciting memories last forever.IMG_0230_resize (2)IMG_0272_resize (2)IMG_0273_resize (2)

Even 4th graders who participate in SSLearn classes have the opportunity to work together and present results to classmates from recent discoveries.  Not exactly Toastmasters, however a good confidence builder. SS Learn Team Report

All good days must end.  These pictures were taken as kids returned to the dock from an expedition to the western shores of Clipper Cove ( aka “Mexico Beach).  Teamwork required all around from TISC instructors as well as their precious cargo.back from Mexico

Retrieving and washing boats usually signifies the end of a fun day On Clipper Cove.Retrieval Team Opti Recovery team Cleaning TeamAs we wind down our summer sessions we’re getting cranked up for the first SS Learn classes to start.  Thanks to the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Citry of San Francisco’s ONESF:Celebrate the Cup program every fourth grader in San Francisco will be able to spend a day on the bay learning about the ecology of the bay and Dungeness crabs, San Francisco maritime history, or renewable energy. And go for a sail at Treasure Island Sailing Center on Clipper Cove!
Regards, from On The Cove,   Dave G

In the wake:

Speaking of teamwork, the TISC team expanded this week as we welcomed aboard Travis Lund, our new Waterfront Director.

Cleveland and Feinstein Schools On Clipper Cove

crabs in trapSSLearn is in full swing at TICS. Spring classes started in April and continue through May. Fourth graders from Cleveland School and Dianne Feinstein School each spent a day at Treasure Island Sailing Center recently. Experiential learning looks like fun!

Thanks to the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Citry of San Francisco’s ONESF:Celebrate the Cup program every fourth grader in San Francisco will be able to spend a day on the bay learning about the ecology of the bay and Dungeness crabs, San Francisco maritime history, or renewable energy. And go for a sail at Treasure Island Sailing Center on Clipper Cove!

What makes TISC’s SSLearn experiential learning program unique is the curriculum and how it’s delivered. Each day is split into two parts: inside and outside ivan framed by oakland craneshands-on activities sharing ideas, learning about bay creatures and history, and reinforcing what’s been learned through open discussion; and time in a sailboat driving, touching the water, grabbing seaweed, and experiencing the effects of wind, tide, currents.Luxine explains

 

 

Presentation timeSan Francisco Unified School District 4th grade classes are split into two groups for their SSLearn day at TISC. While 15 kids pilot RS Venture sailboats the other group learns about crabs, ecology, math and the environment through open discussions. After lunch they switch.

Our activity center is for learning and exploring; we never refer to it as a classroom. No chairs – sometimes the kids stand for open discussion, other times they’re on the floor listening to group presentations.Activity center - three

Playing “The Oh Crab Population Game” provides a chance for outside “energy burn” while gathering statistics which the kids graph, analyze and discuss. Our ecology curriculum teaches kids about what’s needed to survive, like oxygen, food and shelter.

Kids line up representing either the environment or crabs. With backs turned (OK, some prefer to “peek”) each decides on oxygen (holding nose), food (hands on stomachs) or shelter (hands over heads). A match means more crabs – population increases. If what the crabs decide they need is not available in the environment crabs die and their population decreases.

crab game - lookingcrab game - matching

crab game - deciding
SSL Work bookEach student receives a workbook they fill out and take home with them for post-trip study. Other land-based lessons include, crab finding, compass study, and discussions about rising or falling tides. Our SSL curriculum meets California State Standards; the lesson plans identify how the materials support reading, writing, math, graphing skills, and communication to name a few.

We keep the activity center stocked with pictures and posters from sailing on and around the bay. Reference materials and “eyes on” equipment are also readily available.OTUSA poster microscope

Students get to experience the wind and water while in sailboats on Clipper Cove. Some get to steer the boat if they want to. Notice the break in the eastern span of the old Bay Bridge.correy kids drivingthree RSVs framed by old eastern span

While taking pictures I always challenge them with questions about the wind and compass directions -“Point toward Ohio”, or “Which way is West”? By the way, the Golden Gate Bridge is almost perfectly aligned north/ south, and can be seen from most points on Clipper Cove. East is that way

west is that wayWhen asked “what was your favorite part of the sail?” one student answered “I put my feet in the water.” Others were excited to find “mermaid hair” on the cove and by the dock.mermaid hair on the water

mermaid hair - on the dockMy favorite pictures from these SSL days are the kids smiles – whether on or off the water. Can never be too many of them!romell with five pointing and smilescorrey kids smiling activity center - southern view Annie four waving activity center - fiveIvan hiking

Free BusThese classes are provided at no charge to SFUSD fourth graders. Bus transportation to/from Treasure Island Sailing Center is also included.

Regards from On Clipper Cove, D-

In the wake:

You can read another post about the John Yehall Chin Elementary School fourth grade kids who attended an SS Learn class at TISC last fall.

Go to the registration page to sign up for the few remaining Spring Classes. If you have questions about the SS LEARN program or would like to register for the Fall 2014 session send an email to programs@tisailing.org.

You can also download a brochure with more information about SS Learn at TISC.

 

Connecting the Donor Dots

Thanks to supportive donors and generous grants our J/24 fleet has grown to seven.  Because of volunteers like Michael, Nigel and Sam, Delos and Barney headed for Pt. Richmond in yesterday’s fog. They’ll look new after Bay Marine Boatworks finishes.fog and bay bridge frame Clipper Cove

As we drove over the new Bay Bridge back to TISC after delivering two  J/24’s and a trailer to Bay Marine I was struck by the number of people and organizations who made this first step in our fleet renovation possible.  As always the beneficiaries of their generosity are kids in our summer youth classes, year-around outreach program, and just-started SS Learn program.

delos arriving at TISC DockDelos arrived on New Year’s Eve 2009.  I remember the ultra high tide as we motored from Marina Green to TI, arriving to a Bay Bridge still very much under construction.  The motor donated by Adam Slote and the trailer from RIch Jepson at OCSC are still key ingredients to our fleet.  While the bottom growth on Delos was not as populated with marine Delos Keelgrowth as we found on Barney, it did take some serious scraping to remove it.

When I asked Michael Weinman to help with our transit to Richmond, I made sure he knew this was a fun “messing about in boats” job, not the grungy job he signed up for when Barney arrived.  You may recall that clean up job from a previous blog.

Nigel and Mike unstepping the mastNigel Tunecliff showed up early Wednesday to help get boats launched and masts out..  We decided to use the 1-ton crane rather than ginn-poles, and with the tide rather low all proceeded smoothly after coaxing a few turnbuckles clockwise. Michael arrived right on time just as we removed the second mast..

With Delos and Skipper’s Gift motors mounted, Michael and Sam Warner got under way slightly behind schedule after a rudder switch on Delos. While starting to lift, the fog was still very much with us as they headed into a rather gray bay to “Red 6” just outside the Richmond Break wall.Departing for Pt. Richmond

Left at the end of Pier 1Michael took these two pictures after they turned north at Pier 1 and as they ghosted  past Angel Island. Sam ghosts past Angel Island

Bay Marine Boatworks will sand and fix the hulls, apply two coats of epoxy, then polish the hulls above the waterline.  To accomplish this they will use our only road-worthy trailer, retired  earlier this year from Moore 24 duty after Karl Robrock’s gracious donation in support of Matt Harper’s gift of Barney.

My plan to get a nice picture with the sun out and two J/24’s teaming into Richmond Breakwater was foiled by Michael and Sam’s rapid transit. They made it just over 90 minutes !Mike and Sam at Bay Marine

Many connections, donations and volunteer hours lead up to our J/24 Fleet upgrade. The final and most critical was this summer’s donation from Team Luna Rossa via the Americas Cup Event Authority.  Funds from their donation provided the opportunity for the work now being started at Bay Marine, and for the furniture in the new Activity Center now on line to support SS Learn.  Both support our goal of providing launching points for new horizons for kids of all ages.

Regards from On the Cove,

Dave G