The Director of the Metzila community and prevention program in the Ministry of Public Security, Yakov Goaz, paid a visit to the 'Anchored to Life' program in Ajami, accompanied by police Commander Asher Ben-Baruch and Metzila’s Tel Aviv Director, Avital Leiba. During the visit the Metzila staff spoke with participants of the ‘Anchored to Life’ program, which is jointly operated in Jaffa by both Metzila and the municipality’s youth department.
Dozens of teens from the Ajami neighborhood in Jaffa participate in the program which involves a variety of activities, including learning about the sea, sailing different boats, physical challenges and marine rescue simulations. These activities provide the teens with experiences that contribute to their emotional and physical strength, improve their emotional intelligence, and empower them both as individuals as well as members of a group. The teens learn the basics of seamanship, how to navigate, how to operate sailboats and kayaks, windsurfing and scuba diving in rough seas.
According to Yakov Goaz, “The sea poses an unknown physical and mental challenge, which, to overcome, requires the group to maintain positive communication and close cooperation. The understanding that this is the only way to become acquainted with the sea and to overcome its challenges empowers the teens and enables them to discover positive qualities within themselves. The teens enter the program with no background or familiarity with boating, but after learning about the dangers of the sea firsthand and conquering them, they return to dry land with the treasures of appropriate, productive behavior skills.”
Staff members of the program report that there is a noticeable improvement in the participants’ behavior, their ability to show restraint and refrain from immediately reacting to situations, and their respect for others and for the environment. Additionally, five teens in the program, who had previously severed ties to their school, returned after completing the water scout course. The teens in the program even requested an extra day of water activity when the course ended.
The water scout program of ‘Anchored to Life’ is based on the ‘Preventing Juvenile Delinquency through Challenging Activity’ model, developed by Metzila as part of the Ministry of Public Security’s civilian efforts to combat violence and crime. The purpose of the model is to provide fun, challenging, physical activities in order to form normative behavior and cope with frustrations, social temptations and tendencies toward violence. The model provides a framework for reducing violence and crime among disconnected youth and youth at risk.
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