WHAT WE DO
During term-time the Morning Star Trust provides residential sail training voyages for young people and vulnerable adults from our base on Hayling Island in beautiful Chichester Harbour.
In the school holidays we focus on Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) silver and gold sailing expeditions and gold sailing residentials, as well as adventure sailing holidays for young people.
We also organise RYA practical sailing courses for adults as a way of funding our charitable work.
What is Sail Training?
When we talk about 'sail training', what we are really talking about is 'youth work at sea'.
We believe that the unique environment of an offshore sailing vessel is the best place for a person to learn about other people, to learn about the world they live in and most importantly to learn about themselves. Compared to shorebased activities, the challenges, risks, and rewards of sailing offshore are intense and real. On a small boat at sea, participants have no choice but to live and work together, communicate, overcome difficulty, and take responsibility. Perhaps for the first time, participants learn that they have value as part of the crew and realise that their efforts can achieve something.
How do we do it?
Our aim isn't to teach young people to sail, though naturally we love to do this. Rather, we provide a safe and supportive space where people can see the direct achievements of working as a team and develop the skills they need to become self-aware, self-confident and resilient adults.
The participants onboard are responsible, under the guidance of our professional sea staff, for everything that the boat and crew require from cooking and cleaning to steering and maintaining navigational records. If the crew don't work together, the boat doesn't go!
MST sail training voyages are a stage in a supported process, and we work closely with partner organisations to ensure that voyages are integrated into a meaningful ongoing programme. This ensures that the peak experience of sailing, the life skills developed, and emotional maturity gained are transformed into building blocks for sustainable growth, maximising positive outcomes.
Our partner organisations include churches, mainstream and special schools, local authorities, substance misuse rehabilitation facilities, homeless hostels, and the youth justice system. We predominantly work with young people (15-25 years), though we also work on occasion with vulnerable adults.
Does it work?
After a week-residential voyage with MST, all participants feel they can now "find ways to solve problems" and can "achieve things if I put my mind to it".
There is a 50% increase in the number of participants who now believe that "if I work hard I usually get what I want" and who now can "get things done on time".
Our post voyage research shows that all participants on MST voyages feel they are trusted by staff. They agree that they all worked as a team, persevered to complete difficult tasks and learned new skills.