August 3, 2011
Dear Robyn and Christine:
Please accept my apology for the delay in sending this letter and photographs to you both.
When the opportunity of participating in the 10-day SALTS tall ship adventure was first offered to me, I felt unsure about whether or not I really wanted to do that. My first thought was “I hate the ocean and I hate boats.” However, after a supportive and encouraging talk with my Big Brother, Craig, and my mother and step-dad, I realized that I really should seize this once in a lifetime opportunity and to make the best of the experience.
On the first day of the trip, nobody knew anybody, but by the second day it felt like we had all known each other for years. During the ten days, I had made new friends and learned about where they were from and their different backgrounds. My new friends and I got to play around and bathe in a really, really cold waterfall (which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done). We also got to experience being woken up in the middle of the night to take a one-hour watch over the ship, whether it was anchored or moving. I got to see the stars in the black of night out on the ocean which was something I would have never seen unless I actually came on this trip. Some of the things that we did that were the most fun were rope swinging off the bow of the ship into the ocean and climbing the rigging on the outside of the ship all the way to the top. I had the chance to witness killer whales swim right past the ship. I learned that I actually really do enjoy singing with kids my age (even though I had never met them before). I also learned how to make super cool wrist bands (also known as friendship bracelets) and rings and necklaces out of marline. I was also taught about how the ship works, what each of the sails is called and what each of the lines do that attach the sails to the ship. I also learned how to read maps and navigate on charts and often had a chance to actually steer the ship.
If it were not for the support of my Big Brother and my parents and the kind generosity of both Big Brothers and Big Sisters and SALTS, I would never have gone on this trip and likely may never be able to again. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both organizations for the chance to participate in such a life altering adventure. I am definitely not the same young individual I was before I left and I will never forget the experiences or the people I met.
Zach (Little Brother)