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Global Solo Challenge: Can rehabilitation come from the sea?

by Global Solo Challenge 16 Jul 07:13 PDT
Simone Camba - La rotta della legalità © Global Solo Challenge

Simone Camba, an entrant in the Global Solo Challenge, is a policeman from Cagliari and a passionate sailor who in 2013 founded New Sardiniasail, an amateur sports association with social objectives, which earned him the "Sailor of the Year 2021" title.

One could say that Simone won't be "alone" on his GSC adventure. He will have the company of a crew of 300 young people involved in "La Rotta della Legalità (The Route to Legality)", a social inclusion initiative that helps young Sardinians' and migrants' integration in the labour market through sailing and sea related activities.

A large virtual crew that will follow him and cheer him on from afar. Among them, as Simone himself tells us, there will be:

Y., 23 years old, arrived in Italy from Nigeria in 2015. I met him in the office at the police station, and after coming on board and sailing just twice he immediately developed great seafaring skills. Only then I found out that before boarding the boat that brought him from Libya to Italy, he had never seen the sea in his life. And now he won't stop looking at it."

"F. was a young troubled Sardinian lad, with a past of drug abuse and crime. He came on board after a training programme at sea, then joined me on a trip from Zakynthos to Cagliari (with a single stop in Messina). Now, he no longer makes use of drugs, has a job, and never stops smiling."

"Young M. had no criminal record and never committed a crime but suddenly found himself involved in the world of cyberbullying - one click and an image that went viral in just a few hours, and it was too late to realise that he had committed a crime. Since then, he has understood the seriousness of what he did, the trauma it caused to the victim, and worked hard with us to regain his sense of awareness and autonomy."

When and how did the "Rotta della Legalità" initiative start?

Nine years ago, having collaborated with a number of local associations, I decided to create an association open to young people from all over the world, New Sardiniasail, a sailing school accessible to all, that aims to promote this sport, especially offshore sailing, which in Cagliari has always been a sort of taboo (except for the great Andrea Mura and Gaetano Mura). Here we don't have the culture of offshore sailing, far from the coast, and I wanted to send a message to promote it.

New Sardiniasail's social objectives were introduced after I talked to some of my colleagues in the Police districts of Savona and Peschiera del Garda, who told me about their recovery and social reintegration initiatives for young people in difficulty, organised in collaboration with Father Antonio Mazzi. I realised that we could do something similar in Cagliari, so I got in contact with the local Juvenile Justice Centre and we started off with a pilot initiative, 4 months with 4 young people in difficult situations. Today, almost eight years later, they have trained and grown up and all have a stable job and a family. It was the first encouraging sign of the project's positive impact.

So, "Rotta della Legalità" - the name of the initiative - has been working continuously since late 2014 and running six-months projects. Since then, we have welcomed on board 300 young people, using sailing as an educational and training tool; a great school of values that teaches collaboration, respect, and mutual support.

How are projects organised and where do you work?

Each project lasts approximately 6 months: 60% of the activities take place on land - including physical preparation and a range of workshops including sail repairing - and 40% are held at sea. We have 3 or 4 afternoon meetings a week and depending on the weather we decide whether to train and do workshop activities or go out to sea.

At the moment we use a Bavaria 44 for social activities with psychologists and experts and a Farr 40 for more technical activities and racing practice. In fact, recently we have started including a competition calendar in our projects, getting a few of our young crew members involved at the weekend: this has attracted the attention not just of the rest of the young people involved in the initiative, but also of the media.

Between 2020 and 2021, thanks to the collaboration between Cagliari's Lega Navale and III Zona FIV, we have been lucky enough to get access to the Olympic facilities in Cagliari, Luna Rossa's base, where we used professional training equipment with qualified instructors, obtaining excellent results.

Continue reading the full article here...

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