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How one charity connects with people during the COVID pandemic

Even islands in the Caribbean faced lockdown orders in the face of COVID. Without face-to-face contact, Bow Sailing took their work online to meet the locals’ needs.

If you’ve ever spent time with kids, you know how difficult it can be to catch their attention for even a few minutes. Bow Sailing leaned on the in-person connections with local youth to instruct and lead them in meditation, yoga, and sailing.

Then the COVID pandemic hit, forcing locals to shelter in their homes, only going out for the essentials. While childhood development certainly is imperative, the charity had to come up with a different way to connect.

Taking their cue from many organizations around the world, Bow Sailing turned to the internet to reach local youth and their families. Like many experiences around the world, it became an experiment that delivered some surprising outcomes.

Bow Sailing moves content online

It probably goes without saying, but the sailing aspect of the summer camps wasn’t easily replicable online. In fact, you’re pretty much limited to education and informational sessions.

However, all the other deliverables for Bow Sailing remained fair game.

Tyler Rice, co-founder of Bow Sailing, and his crew kicked off a series of classes for folks to tune into from their homes. With both parents and their kids at home, they saw fantastic engagement and participation. In fact, the new medium brought in adults that hadn’t been part before. Normally, their schedules didn’t permit them to join the classes, then head home to shower and get ready for work. Now, they’ve got engagement and positive reviews from new members.

Beyond their normal goals, Tyler sees an important purpose behind their current work. Lack of interaction with others can lead to depression and impede the social development of children. The Zoom classes enable kids and parents to see and engage others in their community, even if only remotely. It gives them a chance to connect, if only briefly, and at one of the most important points of the day.

Staying engaged

The success of the online classes has been remarkable. Participants can see one another without masks, and have meaningful conversations before each class. It’s been well-received by both the kids and their parents.

Additionally, local television stations began to air some of the yoga classes that were filmed several months prior. With these broadcast Monday through Friday, children without access to reliable internet are able to tune in and receive some of the mindfulness training from their homes.

Furthermore, those same stations made the programs available on their Facebook page for viewing, offering an additional resource for children.

Looking forward

Many of these islands rely on tourism for their livelihoods. Much of that has dried up at the moment. Although they expect things to start opening up more this month, they see a long road to recovery.

However, things aren’t without their silver lining. Unencumbered by tourists, local craftsmen have begun sharing their trades with others. On top of that, people are starting to do more for the local community. Rather than focus outward, they want to contribute to bettering the lives of those on the islands.

In some places, it’s showing promise. Local gardeners have been able to sell their seeds, with others providing pop up meal sales. One particular person got into furniture repair as a temporary hobby.

As for the charity, people are able to make online donations, and the support of both local and international businesses and patrons make it all possible.

About Bow Sailing

Bow Sailing is a charity supported by Scandinavian Capital Markets. It is designed to foster life skills and sailing development for the youth in the Caribbean and abroad.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bowsailing/