Tillot­sons send Town­ships teen on ad­ven­ture

Learn­ing how to climb the mast was just one of the lessons learnt by Jor­dan Saint-Lau­rent Ju­gan when he sailed the Gulf of Maine, in Au­gust, on the Rose­way.

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, St. Hermenegilde

If you’re cu­ri­ous how a young, Fran­co­phone teenage boy from St. Hermenegilde ended up on an his­toric, Amer­i­can schooner sail­ing the Gulf of Maine with seven­teen other teenagers, all English-speak­ing, last Au­gust, there is one an­swer:

through the gen­eros­ity of the Til­lot­son Fam­ily.

Al­though it is widely known that com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions in this re­gion have been re­ceiv­ing fund­ing from both the Neil and Louise Til­lot­son Fund and the Til­lot­son Coat­i­cook Re­gional Fund for sev­eral years now, the late Neil Til­lot­son’s son, Thomas Til­lot­son, re­cently be­gan an an­nual pro­gram with the Til­lot­son North Coun­try Foun­da­tion to send three young peo­ple, one from the Coat­i­cook area and two from the re­gion just south of the bor­der, on a mar­itime ad­ven­ture, called the Sum­mer Am­bas­sador Pro­gram, with the World Ocean School.

“When Neil Til­lot­son’s grand­son went on a two week sail­ing ad­ven­ture for youth with the World Ocean School, he ben­e­fit­ted from the ex­pe­ri­ence so much that his fa­ther, Thomas, de­cided to start this project so other young peo­ple could try it,” said He­lene Saint-Lau­rent, the mother of Jor­dan Saint Lau­rent Ju­gan, the Town­ship teen who was ac­cepted for this year’s ex­cur­sion.

“It was quite com­pli­cated to ap­ply. Be­fore get­ting ac­cepted, I had to meet with a teacher from my school for a ref­er­ence let­ter and I had to see a doc­tor and get med­i­cal pa­pers. Then I had to bring all

the pa­pers to the Town Hall, last win­ter, where some­one took care of it from there,” ex­plained Jor­dan, quite ar­tic­u­lately for a young teen. He con­tin­ued: “Once I was ac­cepted, Mrs. Rioux (the gen­eral di­rec­tor of East Here­ford who was in con­tact with the Til­lot­son North Coun­try

Foun­da­tion) called and asked if I’d still want to go even if all the other kids on the boat spoke only English. I said yes, but I was a lit­tle wor­ried, at first. But the re­al­ity was, in the end, it wasn’t hard at all. I had just fin­ished a sum­mer school course in English be­cause I hadn’t passed my course last year, so that helped!”

Im­prov­ing his English-speak­ing skills was one rea­son Jor­dan ap­plied for the spot on the schooner. “I also wanted to take the trip be­cause both my fa­ther and my step-fa­ther have worked on boats, so that in­spired me, too.”

Af­ter months of an­tic­i­pa­tion, the day fi­nally came, in Au­gust, when it was time to bring Jor­dan down to Bos­ton to board the boat. “We thought we had plenty of time to get Jor­dan to the boat, but then we got lost in Bos­ton for four hours! We fi­nally had to take a taxi to find the right place and we got there just in time,” said Jor­dan’s mother, able to laugh about it now.

On Au­gust 4th, Jor­dan sailed off with his group of new friends, aged be­tween twelve and six­teen, and a qual­i­fied crew, for a two week tour of the Gulf of Maine. And they weren’t just sail­ing away on any old boat, but on the Rose­way, an eighty-eight year-old, 137 foot schooner that has been des­ig­nated a United States Na­tional His­toric Land­mark. “The Rose­way was first built as a fish­ing ves­sel, but it was so fast that they used it dur­ing war times,” said Jor­dan.

Built to in­cred­i­bly high stan­dards in 1925, the ves­sel was so well-main­tained that the coal for the stove was washed be­fore stor­ing on board. Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, when all nav­i­ga­tional lights were turned off around

the Bos­ton Har­bor, only the

Rose­way guided the ships through the mine­fields and anti-sub­ma­rine net­ting that had been in­stalled to pro­tect the har­bor. She was the last ‘pi­lot schooner’ in op­er­a­tion in the United States when she was re­tired in 1973, just be­fore be­ing trans­formed into a wind­jam­mer. The fa­mous boat, which was com­pletely re­stored about ten years ago, even ap­peared in a tele­vi­sion movie ver­sion of

Cap­tains Courageous.

Once the teens were all on board, the main crew of the Rose­way be­gan their task of turn­ing their young pro­tégés into sailors. “Each day we had our tasks, like clean­ing the deck, wash­ing dishes, even tak­ing down the mast. When climb­ing the mast, you are at­tached and have two cords to work with. And you al­ways have a per­son at the bot­tom hold­ing on to one cord, in case you fall,” de­scribed Jor­dan. “We also learnt to use a com­pass and to steer the boat. That was strange be­cause the wheel is at the back of the boat and you can’t see where you’re

go­ing!” Hav­ing to wake up at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals dur­ing the night, to take turns mak­ing sure the boat was well-an­chored, was per­haps one of the less ap­pre­ci­ated lessons.

Be­sides learn­ing to sail a schooner, the kids had to send a jour­nal en­try and photo to the World Ocean School head­quar­ters daily, for up­dates to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site where par­ents could go for the lat­est news and pho­tos. They also did vol­un­teer work dur­ing shore vis­its, such as re­pair­ing na­ture trails, tend­ing com­mu­nity gar­dens and work­ing in a soup kitchen. “I was the ‘food run­ner’ there, bring­ing juice and cof­fee to ev­ery­one,” said Jor­dan.

When asked what was most un­for­get­table about his ad­ven­ture, Jor­dan sounded like a real sea­man when he said: “Rid­ing on the prow!” “And I was the first one on board to spot a whale. It came close to the boat, it was a small one, well, small for a whale!”

It will be time again soon to ap­ply to take part in the World Ocean School’s Sum­mer Am­bas­sador Pro­gram, how­ever, al­though he ad­mit­tedly had a won­der­ful time, Jor­dan won’t be fill­ing out any pa­pers. “I’d rather leave the op­por­tu­nity to my younger brother or sis­ter,” said the young mariner.

Jor­dan Saint-Lau­rent Ju­gan, of St. Hermenegilde, at the wheel of the his­toric schooner, the Rose­way, which was named af­ter a woman named Rose who of­ten got her way!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.