Tinian Community delivers for 4-hour Camp Maga’låhi Youth | lifestyle


(Press release) – Last week, 500 Sails workers and volunteers sailed three canoes to Tinian to be part of 4-H Marianas’ 4-H Camp Maga’låhi.

Approximately 40 teenagers aged 7-14 and 12 camp counselors / adult volunteers joined 16 staff and volunteers from 500 Sails for two days of swimming lessons and sailing in the waters off Tachonga Beach.

The time on the water was a wonderful experience for everyone, with lots of knowledge about canoes, history, canoe culture, water safety and the opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing on a traditional canoe.

Not only the youth of 4-H Camp Maga’låhi learned, but also the adults.

The crossing from Smiling Cove in Saipan to Tinian covered 26 miles and took eight hours under difficult conditions.

For many canoeists it was the first crossing.

The fact that the young people were able to experience swimming and sailing at 4-H Camp Maga’lahi is a story in itself.

After a year of pandemic it’s hard to get funding for non-critical activities and it didn’t look like we could make it this year.

But with the coordinated efforts of Joan Flores of NMC-CREES and 500 Sails board member Marjorie Atalig, the Tinian community has come together and made it happen for the youth. Others from Saipan also took part.

We thank:

• Joan Flores, Tinian Center of Northern Marianas College, cooperative, research, expansion and education services for organizing and inviting Tinian’s 4-hour Maga’låhi Camp;

• The Tinian and Aguiguan Mayor’s Office, for providing fuel for the escort boat, an open account for supplies, accommodations for the elderly travelers, dinner on the beach upon arrival and a rental car;

• Members of the 22nd Tinian & Aguiguan Legislative Delegation: Chairman Senator Francisco Q. Cruz, Senate President Jude Hofschneider, Vice Chairman Patrick San Nicolas and Senator Karl King-Nabors for sponsoring lunch and dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for the canoe crew. Senator King-Nabors also stepped in to provide 20 people with breakfast at very short notice;

• Juan and Lourdes Atalig, who held a late evening barbecue for the camping crew on the beach, bringing snacks on Tuesday evening and breakfast on Thursday morning;

• Tahj Salas for donating his skills, time and expenses flying in from Saipan to photograph and video the event;

• Tinian DPS Boating Safety, who were present on the water to help and keep everyone in the water safe;

• Larry Sharry and crew members Larry Williams, Johnston Smith, Eazikel Smith and Hernit Ikea for the motorized escort for the crossing and carrying the camping gear; and

• the many people who stopped by to spend time with our 500 Sails family, sometimes even to take a short sailing tour, including DLNR Director Guillermo Borja, Tinian Community Council Chairman / Secretary Juanita Mendiola and Deborah Fleming who made our trip home with a song blessed on the beach.

After all, we could not have made our own contribution to Camp Maga’låhi without 500 Sails employees and volunteers who sacrificed their time and camped on the beach to keep costs down.

500 Sails came to Tinian to tell the youngsters about their island’s role in the return of the Chamorro canoes from the past.

Thanks to the drawing of a Chamorro canoe, which the expedition draftsman for the English ship Centurion made on Tinian in 1742, the design of the Chamorro Flying Proa was retained.

It is this drawing that enables us to build accurate canoes today.

Two of the Centurion’s anchors are still in the water off Tachonga Beach, where the youth of 4-H Camp Maga’lahi swam and sailed.

We also taught them the importance of canoes – how they shaped our island society and how many of our traditions have their origins in building, sailing and traveling in canoes. We call these collective practices “canoe culture”.

An important principle of canoe culture is cooperation for the common good.

What better example than what happened last week when the community helped to ensure that the youth at 4-H Camp Maga’låhi were not disappointed but had two lovely days swimming and canoeing!

Well done Tinian. We are coming again next year.

For more information on the programs send an email to [email protected], follow 500 Sails at https://www.facebook.com/500SailsDolphinClubSaipan or call Pete Perez, Executive Director of 500 Sails, at 783- 0890.