This spring marks ten years since World Ocean School began. It marks ten years of the discovery, development, and execution of ideas based around the hope that kids can learn to be responsible and productive members of the communities in which they live.
When, in the early days of the new post-9/11 world, we meekly set down our mission statement on a rainy day in mid-coast Maine, we knew only that we were making a huge leap but we weren’t sure just how it was all going to unfold. Our mission was clear but the venue was not. Five months later, the venue presented itself: Roseway sat silently, and rather sadly, at a dock just miles from our front door. If she could have spoken, she might have asked us to give her a chance, to have faith in the maritime traditions of shipbuilding that made her strong over 70 years earlier, to let her prove what she could do. She was ready for us, but were we ready for her? After careful inspection and consideration of every conceivable worst-case scenario, Roseway convinced us we were in fact ready. Despite all the possibilities, she had touched our hearts and there was no going back.
It only took eighteen months of time to restore Roseway, and only another year or so to establish the programs and the itineraries that she would host. But it took the heart and soul of a community to carefully place Roseway in the hands of World Ocean School and send her on her way. It took skilled craftsmen who brought to the shipyard the traditions of their grandfathers. It took savvy business owners who strategically balanced corporate giving with supply and demand. It took earnest and dedicated board members who creatively looked for ways to feed our growth. It took volunteers from all walks of life who joyfully contributed their backs, their talents, and their time to the shipyard and the office. It took generous donors who trusted the ideas and fortitude of the players. And it took friends who told us we were crazy but bought us dinner anyway.
Now ten years later, we’ve been able to pass on the spirit of community-building to thousands of kids and adults who have been part of the World Ocean School adventure. We’ve learned a lot about experiential education and the stewardship of a historic landmark ship. We’ve still got a lot to learn. But above all the lessons of the past ten years, what we now know for sure is that Roseway’s quiet message was right: We were ready for her.
And, more importantly, we’re ready for all that the next decade promises.
So now I invite you to join our Spring Appeal and make a contribution right here to the area in which you most feel a connection at World Ocean School: scholarships, general operation, or Roseway restoration.
Thank you for being part of our community.
President and Co-Founder