ODYSSEY IS AN INTENSIVE FIVE-MONTH INTERVENTION PROGRAM DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR HIGH-RISK JUVENILE OFFENDERS WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE PLACED IN JUVENILE PRISONS AND RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS.
During their 5-month Odyssey, youth live and work aboard a 65' racing sailboat aptly named 'Defy the Odds.' While on board they earn their GEDs, perform global service projects, and engage in daily counseling and vocational training.
OUR THEORY OF CHANGE
1. Prison isn't OUR ONLY OPTION
Let's dismantle the belief that the only way to hold a juvenile offender accountable and protect a community is by putting kids in prison.
By utilizing the ocean as a natural confinement tool, the Odyssey model allows prosecutors and judges to hold youth accountable and remove them from their communities without utilizing prisons.
Jail doesn't work: 75% of youth reoffend and return to prison within a year of their release.
SailFuture Odyssey represents a new way of thinking about juvenile rehabilitation and is pioneering the field of "alternative incarceration."
2. Transformational change takes transformational experiences
People don't transform their habits, behaviors, and outlooks on life without transformational life experiences.
The SailFuture Odyssey program shatters the expectations that young men have unfairly set for themselves. We open up a new door of opportunity to help youth not only realize their potential, but realize they are allowed to dream bold dreams.
Together we embark on crazy physical and intellectual challenges (like crossing the Atlantic Ocean) to prove to ourselves that we can accomplish anything. When our youth realize they have become sailors, they realize they can become anyone.
3. Traditional approaches don't work
Typical approaches to rehabilitation do not work for this population. We know this because we lived it. Our staff know the system from first-hand experiences in the criminal justice system.
Our students typically fail in traditional classroom settings. They don’t respect top-down decision making. They are independent thinkers and prefer to be in charge. They have been through every counseling program that exists and hated every minute of it. They are not motivated by incentives or staff approval.
We develop leadership and put youth in charge - they become watch leaders and navigators. They manage kitchens and boat repairs and maintenance. They learn real-life skills through experiences, not text books. Our counseling sessions happen during night watches, not in a white-walled room.
How it works
SailFuture partners with state juvenile justice agencies, judges, prosecutors, and fellow non-profits to recruit youth:.
Awaiting placement in a residential program or juvenile prison
Currently incarcerated but eligible for transfer to an alternative placement
At-risk of judicial commitment to a residential program or youth prison
- At-risk of being sentenced as adults who would be eligible for a plea deal committing them to the SailFuture program.
For more information about youth referrals, please contact Michael Long at MLong@SailFuture.Org
Odyssey is 5-months long, with 100 days spent at sea and 50 days spent in the youth's home community in a job and education transition program. Eight youth live on board a 65' sailing vessel with a captain, mental health counselor, and teacher.
Each cohort sails 2,000 nautical miles, spending 10-12 days in port between each longer journey. While in port youth perform global service projects, earn their GED's, and engage in daily counseling.
Mornings (0800-1200) - GED Program
Afternoons (1300 - 1900) - Service Projects + Vocational Training
Evenings (2000 - 2130) - Individual Counseling
Following time at sea, SailFuture works with our employment partners and the youth's community to guarantee full time job or education placement and stable housing.
None of our youth we serve will have been outside the country before this program. Their view on life and the world has been shaped by the communities they’ve grown up in. Exposing our youth to foreign languages, extreme poverty and new cultures will shatter their view of the world and what their life can be.