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Plenty of Joy for young Newcastle sailors

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There were smiles aplenty at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club last week when the Making Waves Foundation launched its latest craft, Joy.

But, it wasn’t just a normal unveiling, which occurred before Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp, as well as teachers and students from St Dominic’s Mayfield, on Thursday 30 March.

Legend has it that every vessel is recorded by name in the Ledger of the Deep, personally known to Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea.

Changing a boat’s title without consulting him is said to invoke his wrath.

So, to appease him, a traditional ceremony took place with Commodore Steve Rae and Newcastle volunteer Toni Fox leading the way.

St Dominic’s principal Rachel Jones said the educational facility was thrilled to be involved.

“The partnership between us and the Making Waves Foundation has been invaluable in our school’s efforts to support students with their social-emotional growth and development,” she explained.

“Through the sailing experience, they have gained skills such as self-advocacy, confidence and independence.

“We’re grateful for the positive impact they’ve had on our school community.

“So, we were honoured to be part of the ceremony.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Making Waves and helping our students achieve their full potential.”

The launch of Joy, thanks to the Port of Newcastle Community Contribution Fund, was not about tradition either – it’s providing life-changing experiences for young people with physical or intellectual disabilities, too.

The students will now embark on sailing adventures around the Newcastle Harbour, learning talents like teamwork, communication and respect for each other and the elements.

And, that’s not all.

Making Waves Foundation is also introducing its second program in Newcastle – Winds of Change – for pupils who are disengaged from school.

Over the eight-week initiative, they’ll learn to sail aboard Joy and, more importantly, develop important life skills that will help them succeed both on and off the water.

“This year, we anticipate welcoming more than 1,300 Newcastle locals with disabilities, their support workers, and young people experiencing social challenges aboard Joy,” Making Waves Foundation general manager Julian Martin said.

“The yacht has been modified to accommodate wheelchair users and ensure everyone can enjoy the experience of being out on the water.

“With local schools already signing up for the program, Newcastle is sure to feel the winds of positive change blowing through its waters.”

Novocastrians who would like to support this work are encouraged to join the foundation for the Celebrate Joy dinner on Saturday 15 April at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club.

Tickets are $80 per person and available at http://bit.ly/3TSkETh.

To sponsor a child or volunteer, go to makingwavesfoundation.com.au.

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