Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-4:07:31P.M.






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5 students join canoe camp

FIVE students are participating in a canoe camp conducted by 500 Sails and the Indigenous Affairs Office.

The canoe camp started on June 24 and will continue until July 26, 500 Sails executive director Pete Perez said.

Click to enlarge
Samuel Westbrooks inspects the paddle made by canoe camp participant Matthew Ernest.
Tama Salas works on her paddle as Samuel Westbrooks looks on.
Canoe camp participant Miles Timmons.
At the canoe camp, students are introduced to the process of building a traditional canoe and making their own paddles.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

The five-week program seeks to promote and introduce the canoe culture to the youth, he added.

“We are focusing on the youth,” Perez said. “I think if there is a potential or an aptitude for someone to really enjoy the whole canoe culture, they are going to find out and it is there for them now.”

He added that participants will also learn how to swim.

The canoe camp participants are Miles Timmons, 14; Conall Hartig, 14; Matthew Ernest, 14; Tama Salas, 16; and Ryan Hunter Simon, 16.

Samuel Westbrooks and Andrew Roberto are assisting Perez in teaching students about canoe sailing.

The camp is a combination of classroom instruction and application, Perez said.

“We have two full days of study about sailing in the wind, the history and everything related to sailing,” he added.

The students have also been out in the water six times now.

When they’re neither in the water nor in the classroom, the students are in the boat yard in Lower Base where they help repair canoes and make paddles.

The five-week camp may not cover everything there is to know about building a canoe, but Perez said the activities include hands-on practice.

“It is a bit of a challenge to have that age group here because some of the tools are heavy, and they are not used to using tools,” he said.

However, Perez said 500 Sails will welcome them again when they are older — in their junior or senior high school years. By that time,

“they can handle bigger tools and we can teach them and introduce them to a higher level of building.”

The students, moreover, must be certified swimmers.

“When we certified that they can swim the requisite distance, and when they pass the sailing test, they will be allowed to take canoes out in the lagoon,” Perez said.

500 Sails has four canoes under its care: Neni, Richard Seman, the IAO’s and an unnamed vessel.