The Words of the Noda Family

UTS Ocean Conference

Keisuke Noda
February 2008

The UTS Ocean Conference was held successfully with thirty participants, including twelve leaders of Ocean Challenge who had been orking on their own programs and projects.

The conference began with Dr. Hendricksí welcoming remarks, followed by Mr. Mike Doverís presentation of his Los Angeles Ocean Challenge Program. He explained the 24-year history of the program, which involved collaboration with gang prevention organizations, schools, the Board of Education, the police department, Coast Guard, and various youth organizations. His presentation included heartfelt testimonies by those young individuals who found life again through his program and now volunteer as staff for the program.

Ms. Karen Smith presented a new perspective on the Ocean Challenge program. She explained how boat technologies and skills can fulfill the needs of small island nations based on her experiences with UN related organizations. Ms. Margaret Sisserson, a UTS student from Palau, added insightful testimonies from an islanderís perspective.

Rev. Gregory Odlin, a UTS alumnus, presented his Ocean Challenge programs in Maine and Florida. He explained his financially self-supporting model, where participating students raise the funds for the program costs. He pointed out the increasing demands for his program, which he cannot accommodate.

Rev. Terry McMahon, a pastor and a youth minister in the New Jersey Church, presented his Ocean Challenge program, which he ran in collaboration with the local communities. He pointed out the negative effects of radical urbanization on human life-, and emphasized the value of a nature-based experiential education program.

In addition to those formal presentations, each participant briefly explained his or her own project and program. Mr. Frank Zochol explained his plan for a Fish Farm Program in UTS, which includes technical training in aqua culture for students from developing countries.

Rev. Tim Henning, director of Pacific Southwest District of FFUWP, explained his plan for his UTS Doctor of Ministry dissertation, which will serve as religious education material for Ocean Challenge programs. He explained that his thesis will focus on how religiosity and spirituality can be cultivated by such programs as Ocean Challenge.

Dr. Keisuke Noda, UTS philosophy professor who developed an Ocean Ministry course at UTS, explained his research project of conceptualizing ideas of the Ocean Challenge and contextualizing them into interdisciplinary frameworks that include environmental theories, critique of modernity, psychology of Flow, and religious education.

Other participants included Boat Captain Kensaku Takahashi, who is the director of Ocean Church and Ocean Education International, Captain Mitsuru Nakatsuji, Mr. Steve Kearney, WestRock fishing club president, and Rev. Dong Woo Kim, vice-president of FFUWP USA.

Participants were pleased with the synergy generated in the conference and agreed to continue holding the conference and communicate amongst one another through a website created by Ms. Karen Smith.

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