Captain's Log - Winter 2023 Update

Dear friends,

A lot has changed in the 31 years since the Los Angeles Maritime Institute was founded. Think back to your daily life in 1992. Most of us depended on paper maps to navigate to our destinations, reading from printed books and newspapers was the only option, and none of us were walking around with mobile devices that kept us constantly connected to screens and each other.

So much has changed, and yet, we are still delivering the same program that Captain Jim Gladson developed with his alternative school students and then formalized when he founded LAMI. If you think about it – with all that has changed since 1992 – our programs have become more important than ever. Students step onto one of our tall ships, and they are forced to communicate face-to-face and work as a team. They also practice critical thinking, a skill that has become even more crucial to develop in a world where searching Google, asking Siri, and utilizing AI are typically the first go-tos.

I am proud to share that in our 30th year, we got closer to providing this immersive experience to the numbers of youth we served pre-pandemic. During the 2022-2023 school year, we worked with 45 partner schools and youth groups to deliver 314 sailing days to 5,016 youth. More importantly, you helped us provide this hands-on, immersive educational experience to 4,374 upper elementary, middle and high school students through sponsored sails. That’s right – 87% of the youth we served last year were on sails that you helped make possible!

Our Summer 2023 EXP Intern in front of our buildingIn my Summer Update, I shared two examples of the character-building experiences we create for youth on our tall ships. While a majority of our experiences for youth happen aboard, our impact goes beyond that. Every summer, we host one or two interns from EXP, one of our long-standing community partners. EXP’s programs are complementary to ours with their mission of helping young people gain experience, unlock doors and build the confidence they need to succeed in school, career and life. This year’s intern, Emily Domingo, had just finished her junior year at Carson High School, where she is part of the school’s new dual-enrollment program with LA Harbor College. As she looks toward transferring to a university, she plans to study civil engineering, specifically focusing on environmental engineering.

This past summer, she worked in the office with Alice Taylor, our Director of Sales and Marketing, while also getting hands-on experience in how we maintain the boats and taking part in school sails. During her final presentation about the experience, Emily said, “I always loved the ocean, but it was more on the biology side. I never saw myself working with boats or sails. During my internship, I met people who like the things that I like – engineering and marine biology – and I saw the connection.”

She also shared details about the amazing opportunities we provide to youth, “including me!” Although she considers graphic design a hobby, she had very little office experience when she joined us for the summer. “Being supervised while working in a real-life office and getting out of my shell was important to me, and I learned how to be independent as I was given control over some of the projects.”

Our Summer 2023 EXP Intern in the officeShe also learned a vital skill – answering the phone in an office setting – which Alice has found is an important lesson for youth who grew up in the age of the smartphone. Outside the office, she represented LAMI at events in the community, and she had similar experiences to the Sea Scouts/Youth Crew who help us with ship maintenance. She worked alongside our longtime, dedicated volunteer Lindsey Philpott – an engineer – to worm, parcel and serve a foot rope. He then taught her how to tie a marlin spike hitch and cover wire to make it waterproof.

Our Summer 2023 EXP Intern on one of our tall shipsHowever, her most important experience of the summer was on the boat itself – she faced her fears, which is something we hope to impart on all the youth who sail with us. “I knew I’d be mad at myself if I didn’t climb the rigging,” sharing that she was afraid of heights… and she did it! You can hear more from Emily in a video she made about her internship experience featured below.

You can also help us provide more opportunities for youth to face their fears and learn vital skills that will help them succeed in the future. Please join us by investing in local youth with your year-end donation before December 31. When you do, you will be helping us grow our impact, so we can help even more youth set sail this school year.

Gratefully,

Bruce Heyman
Executive Director

p.s. You can make an even greater impact on youth year-round when you join our monthly giving program, Prevailing Winds, and help us propel confidently throughout the year with your automated monthly donation. Click here to learn more and set up your donation online.