Juvenile Offenders Set Sail to “Defy The Odds”

Tait Wilson is one of 10 juvenile offenders in the U.S. to sail in race

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Sailing offers so many freedoms to those who venture the deep blue. Ten juvenile offenders from across the country will get a chance to experience that freedom.

18-year-old Tait Wilson from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in Mission is one of the lucky young men who will get to experience that freedom, instead of sitting in jail.

“What started me out in the juvenile system was truancy, not going to school, not showing up for school,” says Wilson who sat down with KDLT’s Ricky Cody before flying out to Baltimore for an intense two-week training course.

He has dealt with the juvenile criminal justice system since he was 12. Partly, he says, due to his residence and partly due to his friend group.

“On the reservation, there’s not a whole lot there, there’s not a lot to do there besides get into trouble.”

The Sail for Justice Program, which began with youth only, in and around, Sarasota, FL., is now much larger.

“The first time that I spoke with Tait, I immediately recognized he had that ability and that he deserves something better.”

Mark Hunter is the co-founder of the program which began in 2013. He and his team looked from LA to Chicago for youth who didn’t have just a handful of offenses but rather a strong relationship with the system. Hunter also looked for what will the young men do after the ship has sailed.

He says that it easy for current offenders to be great advocates for a better juvenile criminal justice system because each of the ten men knows what it’s like to be in that situation.

There will be some competition in the 2015 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers that begins Nov. 22, but there’s so much at stake here.

“We named our boat “Defy the Odds,” because when we first entered the race everyone laughed at us and we want to show people that juvenile offenders are capable of change and we are going to do that by winning this race in Nov.,” adds Hunter.

“What I am hoping for on this trip, is learn more about myself.”