EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER Alysha Bacus

Keeping her dream afloat

Surrey teen has a chance to spend her Grade 12 year sailing the world on a tall ship – but needs financial help.

Apart from family trips to the U.S. and Mexico, Alysha Bacus has spent pretty much all of her 16 years in Surrey.

So when her friends, most of whom are from other countries, chat about their worldly experiences, she gets admittedly envious.

“I listen to them talk about their lives before they came here, and I always find it amazing,” Bacus says. “I want to see how other people live and experience it for myself.”

If things go her way during the next year or so, she just might have that chance.

The Kwantlen Park Secondary student has been invited to attend Class Afloat, a Nova Scotia-based sea school program where she would travel the world on a tall ship while completing Grade 12.

The program invites about 60 applicants aboard a 1927 Norwegian ship called the Sorlandet, visiting about 22 ports around the world over approximately eight or nine months. Bacus is entering Grade 11 this fall, so the trip wouldn’t be until late August 2013.

“It would change my life. I’ve talked to so many people that come off the boat and it’s opened so many doors for them,” says Bacus, who wants to eventually join the Coast Guard. “You learn so much about different cultures all around the world because you’re just completely immersed in them – you’re a part of them for those four or five days that you’re in that port.”

As well, for a year, the participants must learn to live in very close quarters with more than five dozen people.

“You have a sea chest, a locker and a bed. That’s your personal space.”

The only obstacle to her ocean journey is the cost: $50,000.

While she initially thought the fee amounted to the end of her dream, she kept thinking there had to be a way.

She has since started a website called Dream Afloat. While she and her family have come up with $10,000, she hopes to raise the remaining $40,000 through contributions. Her idea is that if 2,000 people contribute $20 each, she’ll reach her goal.

“I don’t actually know 2000 people but if you could do me the enormous favor of telling 10 friends about me and they tell 10 friends, it might just work,” her website says.

So far, with money from bottle and coin drives, the total sits at about $16,400.

Alysha’s mom Sherry, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last August and has since undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, says she has learned how important it is to value each day. Through the tough times, Alysha has been an inspiration, says Sherry.

“The last year has been very difficult for our family,” she says, “and despite it all … Alysha has maintained a positive attitude, good grades and the ability to keep dreaming.”

To make a donation or learn more about Class Afloat, Alysha and her fundraising campaign, visit dreamafloat.com or email curlyaly@gmail.com. Contributions can also be mailed to 14030 Grosvenor Rd., Surrey, B.C. V3R 5G5. (If she raises more than she needs or doesn’t raise enough, the money will be donated to the Class Afloat Scholarship Fund).

Just Posted

Man injured in early-morning Surrey shooting

Police say it was targeted and it ‘may be connected to drug trafficking’

‘Do the right thing,’ implores sister of South Surrey stabbing victim

IHIT confirms male arrested in connection with Paul Prestbakmo’s death no longer in custody

Groovy South Surrey wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

FOOTBALL: 50 years of Bronze Boot battles in Surrey

With Jean McPherson, Joe Connelly helps plan annual tournament, set for Aug. 24-25

Officials say 50 Oppenheimer Park residents have agreed to leave, as deadline looms

Residents have been told they must be gone by 6 p.m. on Aug. 21

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience the ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read