Newsletter for April, 2019
Why we love the Junior Sailing Academy Bequia, and why you should too

From soup to nuts, the Junior Sailing Academy Bequia (JSAB) is a prime example of what people can do when they pool their talents and resources, producing something that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Through structured education and training, the JSAB aims to promote sailing skills and career development for youth on Bequia. Shore-based instruction is provided by the Academy’s Training Manager. On-water practical instruction and formal assessment is provided by Sail Grenadines , a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) accredited training and charter company.

Why we love it
In all of that—training, resources, support, admin—the program relies on local expertise and entrepreneurship, providing meaningful employment and authentic engagement. The effects are many:

  • It provides a positive point of contact, one that engages youth within a group of peers around some targeted short-term goals and long-term aspirations.
  • It prepares youth for further education and employment in a key local industry.
  • It prepares them to become trainers and mentors to others, so the model is sustainable over time.
  • It’s visible. The JSAB puts up to 15 boats in the water every Saturday, supported by two safety boats manned by paid local coaches. The sails can be seen from points around Admiralty Bay, which not only looks beautiful, but also draws the attention of local youth.
  • There is no cost to participants, ensuring access to all who can benefit.

What next?
For the 2019-20 period the JSAB is working to build on the success of the 2018 season by providing courses for up to 10 students in two cohorts at the Competent Crew and Day Skipper levels. All going well, a second Competent Crew course will be offered in the fall of 2019.

Math and English (written and spoken) are components of RYA certification, as are CV and job application writing. The JSAB intends to mount a series of courses taught by qualified instructors to help participants meet and exceed the required academic standards. These will make use of the Learning Centre, making it an even richer hub for education and development.

What we can do
In all of that, the JSAB program is a fantastic opportunity to help deliver employment and education to the island community in an efficient and sustainable way. The model is proven and successful, and the room for growth is evident. Financial support is required in order to further scale the program size and scope, though there's clearly a lot of bang for the buck. For donation, volunteer, and participation details, email me glenherbert@sympatico.ca or visit the GI website . Tax receipts for Canadian and US donors are available on request.
Volunteer profile
Sister Cherrylyn Glynn

For nearly three decades, Sister Glynn has been providing essential services to the youth of Bequia

By Glen Herbert
 
 
“I love my work because I get to meet people directly,” says Sister Cherrylyn Glynn. “It’s one-to-one. I do counselling, I get to meet the families.” For the bulk of her career Glynn’s been in the role of nurse practitioner, working out of the hospital in Port Elizabeth. Her office there is organized, clean, if a bit spartan. The one photo on the wall, wedged behind the electrical intake, shows her when she was a nursing student. “That’s when I was in the clinic as a staff nurse,” she says when I point it out. “I had a breast-feeding support group for the mothers. We used to go all over St. Vincent, our group. We went to all the clinics to show them what we do and how they can initiate their own groups.”

Glynn first arrived on Bequia in 1990 and has provided a broad range of care ever since. Today, when she’s not called by her nickname, Cheps, she’s known as Sister Glynn. “It’s the rank of our nursing profession. I don’t know why the ‘sister,’” she says, aware that some might think it means that she’s a nun. “We have males but they are referred to as charge nurses, not brothers. But once you reach the level of ward manager, then you earn the handle of ‘sister,’” something she’s rightly proud of. 

 Glynn was educated on St. Vincent, and she has developed in her profession and educated others ever since, including as a preceptor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. In her current role she runs health clinics as well as the school health program, an aspect of her work that she particularly enjoys. “I love to see that parents adhere to my dietary instructions, my dental instructions, and so forth. And that by the time I see the children again in Grade 6, I can see real improvement.” Children have a complete health assessment when they enter primary school, and then again when they are preparing to move to secondary school. In some cases she’s seen the children of those she first saw when they entered school. 
Having an effect
In her work and her demeanour, Glynn is an example that the most important aspect of health care isn’t the stuff or the buildings, as important as those things are. It’s the relationships and the expression of care the knowledge that you have someone by your side who knows you and recognizes what you’re going through that can form the most abiding, and often most effective, aspect of primary medical practice. 

In the course of her career Glynn has done conceivably tens of thousands of in-office exams. She’s also advocated outside of that, oftentimes in ways that many don’t see, or don’t feel directly. “I pick up conditions that would have gone unnoticed, things that would have been missed,” she says, “I like to see that they’ve gotten the necessary referrals and help that they need,” especially in cases of cardiac pathology, which present with some regularity. But it’s the small stuff, too. “A few years ago, when I see children and I ask ‘do you eat your vegetables?’ they say ‘no.’ But now I’m hearing children say ‘I love tomatoes, I love cabbage,’ so I know that it’s” having an effect.  
 
Volunteering with the Bequia Mission 
“I was intrigued by what they were doing, and because of that I volunteered,” Glynn says of her first involvement with the Bequia Mission. At first, she packed food hampers and helped ensure that those who could benefit from them received them. For the past decade, she’s worked closely with Linda Harrier, providing lists of supplies needed on island, from an EKG to cotton balls. “I like the stickers. You know, when the children come in and you give them at sticker, they feel so good. And I give a pencil to the kindergarten kids … ” Her voice trails off, though the smile remains. She doesn’t say it, and perhaps would demure, but the stickers and the pencils are emblematic of the care that she offers to the children of the island, the personal interaction and the relationship that builds from it.

It’s an interesting thought experiment to wonder about the net effect that Glynn has had on the health of the island population. True, she’s not working alone, something that she’d hasten to point out. But for so much of the program of care during her career, she’s been the front line. She manages her clinics and is the go-to person round the clock. When I toured the hospital with her, she was on a day off, but was stopped regularly by the nurses for advice on how to handle this and that, or what she felt about a patient’s progress. You’d think that kind of constant attention might wear thin, though Glynn smiles through it all, and clearly enjoys and appreciates the role that she fills. She admits that it feels good to be needed, and to know that her work helps others. For three decades she’s been a quiet example of the impact one person can have, while also providing an example to others, especially young girls, of what they can do, too. 
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Contact

In Canada:
Glen Herbert
289-439-7052


In St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
Rekha Gooding
1 784-497-6621