The Family Unit

Sisters Under Sail, Military Daughter’s Scholarship

Teenaged girls looking for adventure and a challenge will be excited to learn Sisters Under Sail is once again offering scholarship opportunities for daughters from United States and Canadian military families.

Each teen awarded a scholarship will sail for one week in July aboard the all-women crewed tall ship, S/V Denis Sullivan, from Traverse City, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Teen girls between 13 to 18 years old with a parent who is on active status or fallen in the line of duty are encouraged to apply.

“My daughter is married to an American military member. I saw what she faced when he was deployed and I saw how the wives relied on each other. How the children stepped up to help. I wanted to do something to recognize those families,” said Dawn Santamaria, founder and executive director, Sisters Under Sail. “I was proud of our military, but I had never seen how military families work to support what they do.”

Two American and one Canadian girl from military families will be selected as scholarship winners, valued at $1200 each, for this cross-border initiative. Each applicant must complete an essay, provide references and are asked to contribute $200 toward their voyage. The application deadline is April 15, 2015 and award winners will be announced by April 30, 2015.

“I would take more Canadian girls with me if we had the funds. Any money Canadians donate to the program goes to fund another CAF daughter. I have room for more on our next sail. I just don’t have the money,” explained Santamaria. “I am just so impressed by the character of these military daughters. The values instilled in them by their families is different, something we want to celebrate.”

Sisters Under Sail wants to recognize that being a daughter in a military family poses additional challenges and circumstances to being a regular teenage girl. Not only must children of active servicemen and servicewomen face these regular teenage pressures, they must also cope with day-to-day uncertainty with bravery and resilience.

Many girls in military families face numerous deployments and the fears that accompany them while their father or mother is away from home. Santamaria recognizes military families are often required to move throughout the country or abroad, and military kids do not have a choice, but to say good-bye to existing friends and make new ones.

The Sisters Under Sail curriculum is purposefully built to capitalize on the lessons learned while students are sailing onboard a traditionally rigged tall ship. The program establishes a safe environment for young women where they are free to explore, learn and challenge themselves, while embarking on a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth.

The mission of Sisters Under Sail builds is to build confidence and leadership skills in girls and women of all ages through innovative educational programs based on rich maritime traditions so they may witness what women can achieve when they work together toward a common goal. Since 2013, six Canadian girls from across the country have received sailing scholarships.

To learn more and to download an application form, please visit the Sisters Under Sail website

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Michelle Levesque

Fate brought Michelle Levesque to the CMFMAG family and she considers herself lucky be part of the journey of watching the Magazine bloom into greatness. Her motivation comes from working with a strong group of military spouses who are dedicated to providing information about those who support the Canadian military family community. Michelle believes in Cyndi’s mission first and for most and prides herself on being Cyndi’s and the magazine’s champion. “No” is not an option in Michelle’s world. When Cyndi describes the magazine as her “5th child”, Michelle describes herself as “Cyndi’s 5th child’s Nanny”. Michelle is married to Bob, a Combat Engineer Veteran and has 3 grown children, 2 boxers, and 5 cats. With only 1 year in Lahr Germany and 4 years in Oromocto NB, the Levesque’s called Petawawa home. (19 years out of 25 years together.) Now settled in Embrun ON, Michelle works where there is an internet connection. With her infectious enthusiasm, sense of humour and sheer determination to succeed, Michelle excitedly awaits where the CMFMAG goes next!

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Canadian Military Family Magazine