Tall ship opportunity needs all hands on deck

Steve Sharratt
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Cardigan’s Kai Boyle hopes to be hoisting the mainsail of his dreams this fall if he can raise the money for a tall ship educational year.

Kai Boyle, 16 of Cardigan working to raise $45,000 for chance of a lifetime educational experience

CARDIGAN — Kai Boyle loves the bounding main.

And he may get a crack at sailing the seven seas after being accepted to join a tall ship educational experience this fall.

It’s a chance of a lifetime, but hoisting the mainsail of his 16-year-old dreams will require all hands on deck.

“It’s a dream come true and, yes, it’s a lot of money, but I’m going to make it one way or another,’’ says the teen. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I can’t afford to miss.”

Kai has been accepted into the Class Afloat program through West Island International College to complete his Grade 11 year. He will board a tall ship in September in London, England, and proceed with a year-long, worldwide tour.

“It’s my dream school where you spend a year on a tall ship travelling around the world working with different cultures and communities to help improve their quality of living and learning,” explains Kai. “And learn how we can improve our planet . . . especially our care of the oceans.”

The only obstacle is raising the tuition and travelling expenses that will cost a hefty $45,000. Kai has worked two part-time jobs, has a full-time position lined up for the summer, and has saved more than $5,000.

The Montague high school student says his parents are matching his savings, but he’s seeking help.

“It leaves $35,000 to be raised and I have an idea so crazy it might just work — 3,500 people x $10 would reach my goal,’’ he said. “I mean, I don’t actually know 3,500 people, but I’m asking people on Facebook to share my plan and who knows . . . I won’t know unless I try.”

The Grade 10 student is picking up bottles, seeking change, collecting recyclables, and dreaming up other fundraising ideas with zeal so palpable it’s contagious.

He’s lined up a draw for a wellness package from his mom’s Eastwind Wellness business in Cardigan and musicians, like Cynthia MacLeod and Eddy Quinn, are on board to hold a fundraising concert in June.

He’s even writing Island businesses seeking sponsorship for his endeavour and will blog about his trip with support advertising while sailing the world.

“I think this trip will help me figure out what I want to do in my life and become a better person,” he says.

“I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such an opportunity.”

Kai is working at KFC in Montague and McDonald’s since he was 13 years old. He is also earning his lifeguard accreditation.

“My Mom always says we need to create our own reality . . . and see challenges as a way to learn more and make us better people.”

The Class Afloat program accepts a maximum of 60 students in their educational, humanitarian and marine program every year from around the world.

And should the effort fail, Kai already has a contingency plan. If he only raises half his goal, he will attend the floating school for a six-month period. But if he doesn’t make that, he plans on donating all funds to a local youth centre project or other youth-oriented endeavour.


You can search the site by his name to find his project page to donate or use the old-fashioned method and donate cash or cheque to P.O. Box 171 Cardigan, C0A 1G0.

Organizations: West Island International College, Grade 10

Geographic location: Montague, London, England

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Recent comments

  • Sailor Jerry
    May 14, 2014 - 09:30

    If the Island can raise $50k for the Youtube show "Just Passing Through" I'm sure you'll reach your goal. Look into sponsorship with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. I don't know many that read blogs. You should get a GoPro and a laptop to make weekly video updates of your journey. I think investors would jump at this.

    • Natalie
      May 14, 2014 - 13:16

      Sailor Jerry, Thank you so much for your words of support. This is truly an amazing experience and one that Kai is very grateful to have. If you ever meet Kai you will understand what I mean when I say (not just a mothers bias) that Hes the kind of young man that always gives back, pays forward the kindness hes shown and more importantly does all of the above before anything comes his way. He is humbled as am I by the support shown so far and is determined to make his dream come true.