Sailing the Tall Ship

November 3, 2010

Have you ever been to sea? Well the answer is yes if you are Jordan Cromwell of New Glasgow. Jordan was one of 6 youth in N.S. selected by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County and SEASTAR to participate as a crew member for a week on the tall ship Europa which sailed from Boston to Halifax.

The trip was organized and made possible by SEASTAR Society, a N.S. based non-profit society established to advance youth through the development of life skills and experience on board tall ships. Margie Grant-Walsh Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County says, “This was an opportunity of a life-time for Jordan. How many people do you know who have sailed on a tall ship? Not just anyone was chosen, Jordan needed to meet the criteria, be willing to work and be committed. We have to remember, this is not a cruise, but a “working” voyage.”

The venture started in Halifax with Cromwell flying to Boston to join the ship and crew on July 12 where they set sail that evening. They arrived in Halifax on July 16. When asked how the voyage was, Cromwell responds, “It was amazing. I worked the whole time, but it was fun. We had to do “watch” through the night, I got to steer the ship and there was always something to do. I made some new friends and would do it in a minute again if I could.” Cromwell fared out well considering he had never been on a ship before. He adds, “It was quite rough one day and I was sea-sick for about a day and a half. Once I got used to it I was fine.”

The Special purpose sail training ship EUROPA was built in 1911. In 1994 she was fully restored as a barque (three mast rigged ship) and now roams the seas of the world in the best seafaring tradition. With a professional crew of maximum 14 and a complement of 48 voyage crew members of all ages and nationalities, EUROPA is powered by canvas and co-operation.

In order for the trip to be possible, Cromwell needed support from many individuals, SEASTAR for assisting with the cost and organization and The Pictou Rotary Club by providing the funds to pay for the berth as well as covering the cost of the flight to Boston. Grant-Walsh adds, “We are thankful to Eric Atkinson of SEASTAR for originally choosing Big Brothers Big Sisters. As well as Murray Hill and the Pictou Rotary Club; without their support this trip would not have happened.”

The main source of support Cromwell has been receiving for the past 5 plus years however has been from his Big Brother Vernon Walsh. Walsh and Cromwell were matched over 5 years ago when Cromwell was 9 years old. During this time they have gotten together on a weekly basis to have fun and just hang out. They have done everything from playing cards, golfing, going to hockey games, carpentry work to just running errands. When asked what impact Walsh has had on his Little Brother he quietly says, “I am just an average guy who wants to spend some time with a young person. I guess I have revealed to him some things he may not have had the chance to participate in. For me, it is so rewarding to see the enjoyment he gets. I try to be a good role model for him in hopes he will give back to someone else some day.” When Walsh was asked if someone was considering being a Big Brother, how would he respond? He immediately was excited to say, “Do it! It is something you will never forget and will truly enjoy. I have made a lifelong friend. I really get so much more from him then he does from me.”

Impact of Mentoring