From left to right Ernie Martin ( instructor) Emmanuel Avillez, Stephanie Avilez, Junior Avilez, Joy White (instructor) (not pictured: Angel Aliva)

On February 5, 2017, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) awarded each of its newest sailors from Adelle's International Outreach Programme, Emmanuel Avilez, Stephanie Avilez, Junior Avilez and Angel Aliva a certificate of completion for the Optimist Level 1 sailing program. The children are all between the ages of 9 and 12. On hand to congratulate them was Adelle Paz, director and founder of Adelle’s International Outreach Programme.

In the summer of 2016, Ms. Paz approached the SPSC leadership to see if there was any way to join forces with the sailing club to teach interested young Belizeans in the outreach program how to sail. Since its inception, the SPSC has had as one of its goals to teach young Belizeans, specifically San Pedranos who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn, so it was a perfect fit.

Children chosen from the Outreach Programme to learn sailing agree to commit to weekly training, to be on time, and to complete the course. The course lasts takes about 3 months. Students learn the basics of sailing and boat care. Those who complete the course have the option of continuing in the sailing program or just joining the club for fun sailing. Three of the sailors have chosen to continue their training.

The life skills acquired while sailing stay with the children for a lifetime. They learn to face challenges head on, respect for others and property, care for the environment, how to work together, and they learn about themselves.

After the sailors received their certificates, they joined the next group of sailors who had their first lesson and then went for a sail together.

The SPSC and Adelle’s Outreach Programme would like to thank the Caribbean Villas Hotel for the use of the space for the classes, and the Belize Sailing Center staff who help out when needed.

Ernie Martin explains boat parts to the new students.