Over 20,000 teenagers have participated in a Toronto Brigantine program since we were founded almost 50 years ago. We have the capacity for 220 trainees in the summer program each year. About 30% of trainees, come back to the winter program to volunteer to work on the boats and train for officer roles for the coming summer seasons.
Participants in the Summer and Winter and Group programs are boys and girls from age 13 to 18. We promote our program in middle schools and high schools and in most places where other “summer camps” are promoted.
The Trainees come from all backgrounds, nationalities and cultures.
We use our bursary fund, in partner with other youth serving organization to ensure accessibility of our programs for all youth. In 2009, 39 trainees (out of 130 in total) participated through a bursary program.
These included referrals from these partnerships:
- Children’s Aid Society
- First Nation’s groups
- Scouts and Girl Guides
- Various Outdoors Groups
- PACT (new in 2010)
- Other community organizations
Because we sail out of Toronto, many of the trainees come from GTA and around the Great Lakes. However, we also have participants from across Canada from Halifax to BC and in between. We also get a lot of participants from south-western Ontario and around Georgian Bay and into the US. We have even had international trainees from Germany, Poland and Britain in addition to international exchanges that we participate in as part of our Deep Sea Award program. These are primarily through word of mouth as our geographic coverage of our marketing is limited to our very small budgets.
The trainee groups are about even in terms of gender. The first two week all girls program wasintroduced in 1976, and girls had been doing day sails since in1965. Now our summer programs are co-ed, although “girls only” programs can be scheduled. In the summer of 2000, 58% of our trainees were male and 42% were female. Our youth officers (wardroom) are 55% male and 45% female.
Many of our trainees have gone on to careers in the Marine industry, on to university and college and successful careers and successful lives.
The strength of the program is demonstrated by the high number of alumni that continue to volunteer and support Toronto Brigantines almost 50 years later providing programming to future generations of new sailors.
As at Jun 9 2011, there are still berths available for the 2011 Summer Program. Bursaries are also offered. Contact the office for details.