TAF Academy Salish Sea Expedition 2011
My name is David, and I’m the STEM Integration Program Manager at TAF. This past weekend 18 TAF Academy students from the 10th -12th grade spent three days sailing the Puget Sound. The opportunity was put on by Salish Sea Expeditions. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about being responsible for that many teenagers under those conditions. However, it went even better than I expected! I knew our students were smart, respectful, and cool, but I had the chance to witness it firsthand. I thought I was bringing this opportunity to the students, but instead I am the one who is grateful to have spent this quality time with them.
Throughout their expedition the students learned how to sail, camp, and conduct marine research. The culmination of all of their newly gained knowledge came when they had to take everything they learned from the previous two days to sail us home with no help from the Salish crew. At that time they all transformed into leaders and teammates to finish strong. I can’t exaggerate enough about the fact that this was a 61′ sailing vessel and they had no prior experience. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen! There were students who are usually quiet that were fully engaged and yelling across the ship taking the lead. There were students who usually don’t speak to each other working together side by side. What I saw wasn’t just a group of students; what I saw was a family. Each of them with their own talents, skills, and differing personalities working in tandem to get home.
It would be hard not to believe that TAF Academy has prepared them for this. They are used to thinking critically, working together, and problem solving. These prove to be concepts that not only help them in the classroom, but also even in the most extreme conditions outside of the classroom. A huge thank you goes to everyone that helped make this happen. I wish everyone could have experienced what I did. The Salish crew was always three steps ahead and everyone felt safe at all times. They were truly amazing.
There were so many great moments I don’t even know where to begin sharing. In the coming weeks, we will share with you via http://fwps.org/taf the many pictures and hours of video footage we were able to record. Students will be posting about their experience on their blogs as well. For now, take a look at some journals taken from the ship here, http://salish.org/Alumni/expeditiontracking, under “Oct 14-16: TAF Academy”.