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Author's Name: Martha Gouniai
Date: Thu 03 Jun 2021

Winds of Joy Sailing Program Makes a Difference

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Simple text version here - Wind_of_Joy_feedback_Term2_2021.docx

Every term that our Winds of Joy program runs we get to see first hand the impact of sailing on those who participate. We see trepidation morph to enthusiasm, anxiety turn to calm and apprehension become excitement. Every volunteer can share stories of participants with varying disabilities or life challenges start their journey on the program quiet and reserved before finding their confidence and taking charge steering the yacht with joy and elation.                             

If you haven't had the privilege of seeing our programs in action the next best thing is hearing from the many teachers, carers and support staff who accompany their students and clients on our yachts. After each Winds of Joy sail a feedback form is completed, the following are direct quotes from our clients as they share their experience on the water.

On the sailing experience:

"Students worked collaboratively to problem solve, help each other, communicate needs and gained confidence working in a team. Students were excited to sail, but after the sail could not stop talking about the experience. The sail was part of a regatta - which was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students (and their teacher)."

- Newcastle High School Support Unit

"Students were all extremely happy during the sailing experience. Some students were more engaged in asking questions about what they saw and listened to the information shared with them. Each student participated to their own ability, and some even surprised staff with their participation and enthusiasm for the activity."

- Southern Autistic School 

"This was a unique opportunity for staff to be offsite and develop better individual relationships with each of the students. This has had a noticeable improvement with the interactions of the students and staff that attended Winds of Joy. In particularly there has been a noticeable improvement in two of the newer students to the school, with calmer and more respectful interactions. The Beach School has participated with Winds of Joy numerous times over the previous years, and we would very much like to continue this program within our school."

- The Beach School 

"It was great for the kids to experience new aspects of life. And the insights of how the inner workings of a yacht can be beneficial to students."

- St Johns Park School

"Overcoming the challenges and barriers. Feeling like every other person in the world not being treated and looked at being different."

- Lurnea High School

Making Waves is run by a dedicated network or skilled and passionate volunteers and it is no surprise that they receive such high commendation and praise from our clients. Our volunteers know how to bring the best out of every participant on the boat, understanding their challenges but not allowing them to be restricted by them.

The following feedback is all about our volunteer crew members:

"EVERYONE! ALL the crew members were AMAZING, FRIENDLY, PROFESSIONAL, SUPPORTIVE and so LOVELY to our students and staff!"

- Katandra School

"All of them [the volunteers] were great with the students, allowing them the chance to explore, singing with them, being gentle and respectful."

- Warrah Specialist School

"The volunteers approach to the student was amazing. They were positive and patient."

- Naremburn School

For more than 25 years, we have been running our Winds of Joy program, enabling tens of thousands of young Australians with disabilities or disadvantage to explore their potential and find confidence in their abilities. We are excited to continue this important work and reach even greater numbers.

Want more amazing stories of change? Check out Brenton's story below!

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