Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Intern Blog 04.29.2009 Internship Duties, Boats, Planes, Worms, and Fish!

Internship Duties
The last post will --after some more editing-- probably be posted on Sound Experiences new Blog page, which I'm creating.

That is just one of the many things that was settled on last Thursday, Apr 20. Elizabeth and I spent about an hour going over my goals for the internship, and ideas she had brainstormed. These are my new duties:
  • Manage/expand Facebook
  • Create the Sound Experience Blog and write weekly entries
  • Post S.E. programs on online calendars
  • Write/publish a feature article of my own
  • Document alternative marketing strategies, e.g. ads on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.
  • Create a report of Sound Experiences marketing plan (do research on marketing plans, report what we're using, what we could use)
  • Link S.E. to the American Sail Training Association's website
  • Make a Power Point presentation for the Marketing Committee/Board of Directors (of which I am a member) reporting on our progress and vision for S.E.
I have a lot to do. Currently S.E. is working on an email account for me which should be helpful when contacting other organizations; it gives me a little more legitimacy and doesn't clog my personal email account.

That will allow me to start the Blog, and do more of the online calendars. I've already posted our programs to the Seattle Times' website, and the Seattle Weekly. More to come.

After this week, which is crammed with things to do, I hope to get rolling on some of these bigger things next week (It'll also help when I have my computer back). I also need to research the 5 scholarly articles relating to my internship, and if I was really good, I'd start drafting my final paper now.

Boats, Planes, Worms and Fish!
This was a really fun event that Sound Experience co-hosted with the Port Townsend Co-op. It was an event for kids which showcased outdoor programs throughout Port Townsend. Northwest Maritime Center/Wooden Boat Foundation was there as well as the P.T. Sea Scouts, Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, P.T. Marine Science Center, SeedSpring, P.T. Aero Museum and the Tri-Area School Garden/Compost Program. Truly, it was a celebrations of boats, planes, worms and fish.

I was supposed to be there at 10 to help with the set up, however, my ferry was delayed until noon so I didn't show up until just before the even officially started. That said, I did actually help prepare out booth by setting up the table and posters.

As the event was for kids, we had a few things to entice them with: hand stamps, making a baggy wrinkle, and I led a chantey sing. We didn't know how old the kids would be, but as it turned out, they were pretty little; the play wooden-ship with a captains wheel, and the coloring station, were the biggest hits. The lesson learned here was that our activities catered to a bit older audience.

All in all, I think the even was a success. It was incredibly fun, I got to network a bit, and it was a beautiful day with laughing children. Life is good.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Intern Blog 04.20.2009 Adventuress, Sound Explorations, West Sound Academy

I roused myself from bed at the usual time, but last Thursday did not follow my normal routine. When you know you're going to be sailing on a 133ft long, 96 year old historic schooner, you wake up smiling.

I signed up to be relief crew for a Sound Exploration trip aboard the Schooner Adventuress a few months ago. Sound Explorations are the extended versions of Sound Studies, both of which are "designed to spark the imagination and foster an interest in science, leadership and the environment."The big difference between them is that Sound Studies are three to five hours, whereas Sound Explorations are two to seven days.

Seattle's traffic was surprisingly knotted that Thursday morning, which delayed my arrival to Bainbridge Island to sometime around nine. I was still there well before the participants. The Adventuress was moored on City Dock at the Waterfront Park which is where we first met the kids from West Sound Academy.

West Sound Academy is in Paulsbo, which is directly north of Bainbridge. The school is a private preparatory middle and high school, and its students are fantastic. That morning, as we prepared the ship, their burgeoning sixth grade excitement carried across the water from an Adventuress boat-length away. It was infectious.

That's how it always is: the participants are always excited for a new experience, and we're always excited to facilitate it. The excitement builds off of one another, and the atmosphere becomes electrified through our collective effervescence. A wise man once described it as "some kind of hypnotism."

However, this energy is put on hold while we go over safety. Safety and shipboard orientation is a priority. We must go over the essentials: how to don a life jacket, where to muster in an emergency, life rings, etc. But also the personal essentials: where to stow your things, how to use the bathroom, and assigning watch-groups for the remainder of the trip. It is only after what must seem to them a vicious prolonging of their excitement, that we turn them loose upon the halyards.

Then the proverbial bottle is popped and their energy rages forth. Usually the mainsail goes up easily as a result. It's amazing what adrenaline can do for sixth graders.

The rest of the trip was indescribable, though it is my charge to try an describe it. I was a Co-Watch Leader with Aubrey, one of the saltiest, friendliest, cutest people the world has ever seen. We had three stellar-girls in our group. They were highly energetic and very smart.

On that trip, we had amazing wind and beautiful sun. We saw porpoises and sea lions. We laughed and got to know each other better. My favorite thing about being on board is watching the participants grow comfortable with the ship and its atmosphere.

It takes some adjusting: Not showering for three days, washing your dishes by hand, singing chanteys and hauling up sails! It can be overwhelming and bewildering. But they almost always come around.

What I've whittled it down to is awareness; Not only do participants become more aware of their immediate surroundings, i.e. they bump their heads less on the overheads, the don't stub their toes on the cleats, etc, but they become more aware of their environment: They pause to listen as the sea lions slap their flippers upon the water, or their heads snap around when they hear the spout of a porpoise.

With that awareness comes respect, admiration, and passion. I can speak only for myself, but that passion is what I strive to achieve, and I think many of the crew feel similarly. Through our shipboard education, we hope to foster that awareness; we want them to be so inspired that they take their admiration back home. We don't expect people to leave the ship experts on the environment, or in sailing, but we hope to plant that seed of passion so that even after they've left the ship, they'll continue to nurture it into a powerful force in their life.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Intern Log 04.12.2009 Fremont Maritime Services, Basic Safety Training

This entry will be lengthy due to the immense amount of material I was subjected to over the last week. There will be a lot of acronyms. This can scarcely be avoided due to the vast numbers of organizations and certifications I will be referencing. My apologies. However, to help you and me, this post will be broken into distinct parts and a table of contents put at the beginning; simply scroll to the sections that are interesting to you.

Table of Contents
Basic Safety Training
Why BST?
Fremont Maritime Services
First Aid
Survival Training
Fire Fighting
Related Links

Basic Safety Training
According to the United States Coast Guard's website, Basic Safety Training (BST) is a course containing "basic fire fighting, elementary first aid, personal survival techniques, and personal safety and social responsibility."(1) Fremont Maritime Services (FMS), the organization that trained me, defines BST as:
  1. 8-Hour Elementary First Aid
  2. 12-Hour Personal Survival
  3. 4-Hour Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  4. 16-Hour Basic Firefighting
Why BST?
Basic Safety Training is required for mariners seeking a certification, such as an Able-Bodied Seaman (AB). I want to work my way to a Masters license and this certification is one of the very first steps. (2)

Most mariners are, essentially, regulated by the United Nations (U.N.). The U.N. formed the International Maritime Organization (I.M.O.) at the Geneva convention after World War II. This convention established international regulations on global shipping, as well as safety and environmental standards. Understandably, the I.M.O.'s mission statement reads: "Safe, Secure and Efficient Shipping on Clean Oceans." They developed the Standards in Training and Certification of Watchkeeping (STCWs) which have been adopted by the U.N. member countries.

In the case of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security enforces these regulations through the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The USCG has the National Maritime Center (NMC) which issues Merchant Mariner Documents (MMDs) from their Regional Exam Centers (RECs). MMDs are something you must have to sail aboard a U.S. flagged ship. Long story short, BST is required for an Able-Bodied Seaman MMD, which is something I want.

Fremont Maritime Services
The institution that I went through to get my BST certification was Fremont Maritime Services (FMS). Located on the north side of Queen Anne hill, FMS is tucked away next to Foss Maritime's shipyard. FMS offers Coast Guard approved STCW courses, and they support the Schooner Adventuress, which is how I got this training in the first place.

Fremont Maritime recruits some of the best EMTs, Firefighters, and Merchant Mariners from the Seattle-area as their instructors. Each had their own style, but they all simultaneously commanded our respect while staying aware of our needs and concerns. Dave Tait, Kyle Higgins, Tom Bliss, and Corey Caulk; They have my utmost respect and I would trust my life with these men. I shouldn't forget that during our breaks, we were well taken care of by the front staff. Coffee was always at the ready, and smiles abundant.

First Aid
Our first day was spent on CPR and basic first aid. My first impression of our instructor Dave, to be perfectly blunt, was, "this guy is going to be an asshole." As it turns out, Dave was far from that impression.

The man exudes strength, both mentally and physically, while maintaining a great sense of humor. His face is carved by lines of deep contemplation, absolute determination, and perhaps of sadness. His physique is wholly impressive; it gave me the sense that he is a man who has seen the frailties of man, and does not want to fall victim to them.

His aura was backed by experience. For nearly ever lesson he taught, there was usually a related personal story, whether that was for emesis, or the hazards of adrenaline pumped old ladies. For very important material, he would kick the desk or pound the wall as a signal for us to pay attention.

There were a few key things that Dave wanted us to remember:
  1. Safety (Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), size up the situation, get crowd away)
  2. Call for Help (911)
  3. ABC's (Airway, Breathing, Circulation... Defibrillation)
  4. Stop the Bleeding
  5. Protect the Spine
We learned about everything from stroke and seizures, to anaphylaxis and hypothermia. The lesson was intense, fast-paced, but thorough. Thank you Dave.

Survival Training
Taught by Tom Bliss, this lesson held so much information. I think that they main points to Tom's lesson were: think ahead, have the appropriate equipment, and drill, drill, drill! Tom lesson was partly in-class instruction, be we also went outside for hands-on experience.

This is where a major part of the on-board safety was taught.


Related Links
(1) USCG History of STCW
(2) The New Hawsepipe

Fremont Maritime
United Nations

Friday, 3 April 2009

Intern Log 04.03.2009 - SEA-Inside, REI and People for Puget Sound

The Event
Sound Experience was invited to attend a presentation for SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest, an educational television series filmed by John F.
Williams (see right). In turn, I was invited to attend by Sound Experience's Executive Director, Catherine Collins, to represent the organization from the perspective of a crew-member and intern.

The presentation took place in the north meeting room of REI's downtown flagship-store. I got to REI an hour early, as I needed to buy a few things, but was surprised to find that I was the first person at the event. Naturally, I took some liberties and reserved the best table for our set up.

Slowly, people began to trickle in. Representatives from People for Puget Sound came first (they were hosting the event), followed by those working for affiliate organizations, and finally--closer 7:00p.m.--the audience arrived.

My Role
This was my first opportunity to engage with the public as Sound Experience's new marketing intern; excitement coursed through my body. As the night progressed, however, I soon realized how much I will have to grow as an intern to be the proverbial "best I can be."

When Catherine arrived, she had brought Kate Tanski, who is currently the second-mate aboard the schooner Adventuress. Catherine decided that Kate and I should run the booth and engage the attendees in discussion about our program. After the first bout of questions, I realized how much about the organization I have to reacquaint myself with.

During those discussions, my enthusiasm remained undamped, but I did stumble over my words and facts. My mind was oriented for the summer season: I listed summer ship-capacity, summer age-ranges, and the summer programs. That mentality completely alienated the Spring and Fall seasons. When I next meet with Elizabeth Becker, I am going to investigate and internalize as much about the organization as possible so that I do not make the same mistakes again.

There was a point during the night when each of the organizations were asked to briefly describe themselves. Catherine urged me, very eagerly, to represent Sound Experience. I quickly constructed a speech in my head, then went up to deliver.

I felt a hint of personal pride when John Williams offered me the microphone and I respectfully declined. I enjoy speaking loudly, and try to practice my projection at every opportunity. I also believe it adds to my presentations by showing my energy and enthusiasm. I was thrilled to have a woman come to me later and say: "I just had to come talk to you about this, you were so enthusiastic."

I did also feel a hint of embarrassment later that evening when I realized, when looking through the pictures I had taken, that I had sweat through my shirt a little. That is simply another lesson learned: if you bike somewhere, one spare shirt is not enough. Bring your presentation clothes, and an undershirt.

  • Helped set up booth
  • Gave brief info presentation
  • Learned about other organizations
  • Met other figures of environmental stewardship
  • Took some pictures
  • Bring undershirts
  • Take more pictures
  • Keep a notepad/pen handy always
  • Carry spare bike tire (I got a flat on the way home)
  • Know the organization's mission, programs, ports, membership offers, and everything else
Related Links
Earth Corps
People for Puget Sound
SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest