SINT MAARTEN MARINE TRADES ASSOCIATION
The right stuff
After much hard work and enthusiasm by the students, volunteers, the St. Maarten Sailing School and the Kids at Sea Foundation, the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association’s ‘Build Your Future’ project was successfully launched in March on St. Maarten’s Kim Sha Beach in Simpson Bay. In attendance was the minister of education, Silveria Jacobs, and administrators from the participating schools and many cheerleaders. Students of the Caribbean International Academy, St. Dominic School, Milton Peters College, St. Maarten Academy (Vocational) and the Secondary Vocational Education SBO School all took to the water for two short and fun rowing races. Although the St Maarten Vocational boat was not quite ready for the launch, their team representative joined with another team to enjoy the fun.
Experiencing the event, SMMTA Vice President Lorraine Talmi said: “This initiative has gotten off to a great start, the kids are so excited, and the support from the community has been amazing. We hope this will build a love for the sea that will stay with the students long into their lives. It was fun to notice the on-water lessons of teamwork, as they learned the difficulty in steering a vessel through synchronized paddling. Some experienced a rather circular or zigzagged course; it didn’t seem to matter much, even though one team crossed the finish line first, all of the participants in Build Your Future came away winners!”
The next step of this initiative is to teach the students to sail the boats and organize frequent interscholastic, as well as inter-community, competitions.
The SMMTA worked hard to put the Build Your Future project in place and succeeded where similar schemes had failed. The initiative was made possible with the help of businesses, organizations and individuals who generously gave their time, expertise and financial support.
In a press release, the SMMTA thanked the marine mentors, the businesses and the local community as a whole for such overwhelming support. They also thanked the sponsors: Aqua Mania, Budget Marine, BWA Yachting, FKG Rigging, IGY Marinas, Island Water World, Kelmador Holding, the St. Maarten Harbor Group, The St. Maarten Sailing School, St. Maarten Sails and The Windward Islands Bank.
The release went on to thank the Ministry of Education and all others who pledged their support for the continuation of the project, which aims to teach the students different skills and open their eyes to the many opportunities in the marine industry both in terms of employment and recreation.