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Follow Our Journey! Staff Training A

By Josephine A June 7, 2024

Written by Josie A., Social Media Coordinator

Coming from far and wide to our home base at Hodges Creek Marina, the first round of staff started to arrive for staff training! As they arrived, our leadership welcomed them aboard boats Samoa and Mile Hi to settle in before a nice hot meal of chicken, veggies, rice and beans, and coleslaw.

Early the next morning, each boat had a breakfast buffet with tons of blueberry bagels, a Sail Caribbean favorite, and got to know each other better after a long travel day the day before. Afterward, each boat had a de-docking lesson and reviewed the basics of parts of the boat and general boat care before setting sail to our first stop: Marina Cay!

Here, we had our first mooring ball pickup and went for our first swim, including a staff swim test, with water safety lessons and scenarios to prepare for anything that could happen this summer. After another quiet night on board filled with more name games and teambuilding activities, we dinghied to shore and had a lesson on teaching and how to be impactful instructors for all kids!

Along with another briefing on sail raising and lowering safety procedures, both boats set sail to our next destination: Lee Bay! With some circumnavigation of the island, the vibes were high, as we prepared to drop the anchor for the first time. Because Lee Bay has so many beautiful snorkeling spots, our staff hopped in the water for the first snorkel safety lesson and explored the marine environment around us for the first time! At the end of the day, both boats enjoyed Mediterranean bowls and an absolutely beautiful sunset along the mountains.

Right after breakfast on the next day, we upped our anchor from Lee Bay and set sail for The Bight. Where we quickly went to shore to do the Helipad hike! Following many pictures of the outstanding views at the top, we came together to play some camp games, including Where the Wind Blows and a new camp favorite, Splat!! 

Our trip to Nanny on the following day went smoothly as the new staff had their first skills challenge of training and did their first docking successfully. Then, we all gathered on the beach to learn more about mental health and how best to support students this summer!! Following a great discussion and awesome learning, docking practice commenced!

Even after some fun in the sun at Nanny the day before, we were hungry for some more fun with a Colgate, our 26’ sailing boats, and another snorkel session! Tired after yet another fun day, we were cooled off after dinner with some light rain to make our shower parties so much more fun! A great way to end the day.

Challenge day began bright and early the next morning as all new staff began de-med anchoring and began to sail back to our home base at Hodges to meet with Mike and the wonderful office staff. Following a very informative meeting, we were back to boats and began de-docking to journey to our final destination of the day: Trellis. However, we didn’t know that there was a surprise waiting for us once we got there. We were surprised with safety scenarios to ensure that we are all well equipped to deal with whatever incidents, small or major, that may arise this summer and know how to respond in these situations. These scenarios also helped us connect to our local first responders who work for VISAR.

The next day, on Cooper Island, was a little more relaxing as staff participated in their first dive of the summer! We got some amazing pictures while we explored the RMS Rhone wreck dive site and saw some beautiful marine life. 

Today, on day nine of training, we all sailed from Cooper Island, after doing some rainy dinghy certification, to Hodges again to do another lesson on de-docking and sailing the Colgates. Eventually, we made our way on the ball at Brandywine Bay near the Marina for a fun-filled night of Chili Cookoff!! The day ended with another beautiful sunset and with everyone anxiously awaiting the arrival of Campers in two days!!

The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.