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SPIRIT OF DANA POINT TALL SHIP OVERNIGHT EDUCATION PROGRAM served over 400 fourth-grade students from 20 classrooms and 12 schools in Santa Barbara County!

The tall ship Spirit of Dana Point was docked in the Santa Barbara Harbor for most of October. Formerly the Pilgrim of Newport, the 118-foot schooner allows students to experience life at sea as it has been for hundreds of years.

This past September/October 2109, SBMM completed its nineteenth year of hosting the Spirit Program and served 406 students from 20 classrooms–12 of which were from Santa Barbara County Title I schools. Students that participated in the program were from Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Ynez, Solvang, and Santa Maria. Costs of the program, including full scholarships and busing for students from Title I schools, were covered by grants and donations made to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

The Spirit Program is based on Richard Henry Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast. This past month, fourth-grade students “signed aboard” as greenhands for a two-year “voyage” from Boston to Alta California in the 1830s. While immersed in early California history and working with a variety of dynamic historical characters, the students gained skills in cooperative learning, teamwork, and communication as they hoisted cargo, rowed long-boats, raised sails, stood night watch, swabbed the decks, and sang chanteys. Accompanied by adult crewmembers playing the part of the book’s characters, students experienced Dana’s 1835 port call to Santa Barbara during an overnight stay aboard the Spirit.

“Being on the tall ship was a once in a lifetime experience that the students and I will never forget. The knot tying, chantey singing, and star-gazing during night watch will be wonderful memories they will take with them forever. More importantly, the lessons learned around independence and self-reliance, as well as teamwork and problem solving will serve them well in their future endeavors.”

-Eileen Craviotto, Teacher, Peabody Charter

Donations to support the Spirit Program came from Roger and Sarah Chrisman, The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation, Brown Family Foundation, Harold and Bettye Fue, The Ann Jackson Family Foundation, Robert and Claudia Kirby, Agnes B. Kline Memorial Foundation, Jack Mithun and Mercedes Millington, Henry E. and Lola Monroe Foundation, The Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, Nichols Foundation West, The Outhwaite Foundation, Santa Barbara Yacht Club Women, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, SoCalGas A Sempra Energy Utility, Sidney Stern Memorial Trust, The Towbes Foundation, Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Union Bank, and The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

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Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, is a community-based 501 (c) 3 organization that offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs. The facility includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tall ships, and an oceanographic research vessel.

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