Sailing4Youth is a project in cooperation between Fondacija Krila Nade/ Foundation Wings of Hope (Sarajevo, BiH) and Cat-MaRe gUG (Germany) and aims at promoting social integration and engagement in Bosnian teenagers by giving them the opportunity to experience themselves as an integral part of a society in which they can and should be actively participating in order to effect change. It tackles the social challenges that young people are experiencing. Crucial for the approach is a one-week sailing trip on a Catamaran. This trip will enhance skills and knowledge, which will be acquired in a previous workshop. Therefore the possible learning success is on its highest level, as the theoretical contents, which are taught and trained through non-formal methods, can be directly tried out and strengthened in practice by taking part in a temporary formed tight community, the sailing crew.
The focused topics of the pre-sailing workshops are peaceful conflict resolution and mediation, but also the strengthening of social skills and teamwork in general. On the following sailing trip the previous learned mediation skills will support and facilitate the social interaction and contribute to a peaceful togetherness. As on board there is only narrow space, and thus peaceful togetherness is essential for everyone’s well-being, the participants train their gained skills and foster them through the direct use and experience. Besides that they are actively involved in upcoming tasks as well as everyday responsibilities on board, which teaches them how everyone has to make its contribution to the community to make it work. These tasks include the sailing tasks and know-how itself, as well as cleaning, cooking etc..
This project was implemented for the first time from June to August 2018. The project was implemented in 3 stages.
The workshop was a combination of new theoretical content, exploring and sharing personal habits and experiences, role plays and discussions. It covered the most important topics to understand and solve conflicts in a peaceful way. This contains the basis of conflict and its dimensions, the importance of communication and its theoretical background including practicing active listening skills, forming ‘I’ Messages and understanding different bias when it comes to storytelling. Further we talked about the own emotional reactions in conflict situations and learned, how to deal with them and their possible emergence: the basic needs.
At the workshop room a safety room was announced, the participants were able to dare first steps out of their comfort zone by sharing personal conflict situations and individual reactions to emotional triggers like rage, fear, anxiety etc.. And in return experienced understanding. With the help of theoretical background they found alternative ways to deal with their own emotions and conflicts. By being aware of each others individual needs, the basis for a peaceful togetherness on board and a first bonding was set.
According to the project plan we ensured a high level of security by attending a first aid course before the departure. The course was held by the mountain rescue service of Sarajevo.
2. Sailing Trip
- living on board
Living together on a confined space for a longer period and also sharing the bed with another person, taking care for the food and watching out for the limited resources on board (especially water) were challenges we had to master.
By being aware of our responsibilities and taking the challenges together the crew felt a strong bonding among each other. This feeling was strengthened by sharing the accruing tasks and taking car of them in teamwork. That included making a shopping list and doing the shopping, preparing the food and cleaning up. But also taking care of each other and the individual needs and a positive atmosphere on board everyone could feel comfortable on.
All participants were equally involved in all necessary responsibilities and were able to try out and experience everything around the sailing, from steering the boat, to hoisting the sails, from tiding up a lot of ropes to preparing the fenders. The skipper instructed the team carefully and with a lot of patience and gave the fully beginners crew knowledge about the necessary vocabulary, about how to navigate just by compass, about how to understand the direction of the wind and how to read the sea. As the participants said “there was no place on the boat where we were not allowed to be or not allowed to take part in”, they got a deep insight in the practice of sailing and thus able to experience full integration and involvement in the crew.
3. Final event
The team met twice after the sailing trip again to reflect and evaluate their experiences and individual learning process. In groups they were reflecting on their feeling of integration, their gained skills and their feelings and emotions during and after the sailing. The group talked about the personal highlights, the biggest challenges and the things they will take home.
As the workshops the final event took place at the garden of the Foundation Wings of Hope. It was held in an informal way so that the comfort of all participants was ensured. A photo exhibition gave the guests an insight of the sailing trip and the different tasks the teenagers were involved in. During the whole event the guests were giving opportunities to ask questions about the project and the participants exchanged their experiences beyond the sailing crew.
After returning the project team prepared a video based on the experience the project participants had. The video is available also on Youtube