Alex Agnew of Tall Ships, Recognized for Work with Teens at Sea

Special Award Winners are Leonard Seagren, Co-chair of Sail Portsmouth, Alex Agnew, President of Tall Ships Maine and Eden Leonard, Executive Director of World Ocean School in San Pedro, California Last Week.

Tall Ships, Maine, a Maine-based nonprofit dedicated to youth character building through sailing, received national recognition last week for an innovative partnership that sent 100 teenagers to sea on eight trips last summer aboard the schooner Harvey Gamage. Tall Ships Maine along with Ocean School, Sail Portsmouth and Ocean Passages, Tall Ships Maine, along with Ocean School, Sail Portsmouth and Ocean Passage, were given the special award of Tall Ships America’s 46th Conference on Sail Training and Sea Education, San Pedro, California.

Each year Tall Ships America recognizes programs that do meaningful work to create programs that help introduce members of the public to life on board a tall ship. This year Tall Ship America decided to create a special award for Tall Ships Maine and its partners.

“The work of these 4 partners have done to help take young people on ocean sailing trips has been exemplery,” said Captain Jonathan Kabak from Tall Ships America. This partnership is making a real difference in the lives of 100 teenagers from Manie, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and we hope that the partnership they created will be replicated by other programs around the country.

Alex Agnew, President of Tall Ships Maine said that as successful as the program was last summer, he expects to double the number of high school students sailing due to his partnership.

“The first year we were able to get 17 students on board ships for week-long voyages, Agnew said. “Last summer increased that to 100 kids and this year our goal is 200.”

Agnew said that the typical students go through a range of emotions during the course of each trip. “The first day is hard and they feel awkward and a little uncomfortable with their decision to sail. By the third day they are fully involved in operating a ship and by the last day, they don’t want to go home. It’s a powerful experience living with 37 people at sea, including 9 professional crew/educators.”

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