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Bowspirit Kids Group
Bowspirit Kids - We make penguins fly
Bowspirit Kids - We make penguins fly

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The Bowspirit Penguin Race

As you all know, the mascot of the Bowspirit Kids ( is an emperor penguin named Bowie ๐Ÿง.
Bowie and his family live in Antarctica near Neumayer-Station III (

To the 25th of April we invited Bowie to Lรผbeck, because then will be World Penguin Day ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿง and we want to celebrate it with him.
But oh dear ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ... so far the slogan of the Bowspirit Kids "We make penguins fly" has not become reality.
So Bowie has to run ... and that's 13,898 kilometres or 13,898,000 metres ...

Our little friend can't do this alone. - So help him and take a part of the way from him!

And that's how it works:
Compete with someone - or even several - in a race of 10 meters - in penguin style ( ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง!
When? - Right now.
Where? - On the street in front of your house, in the car park around the corner, in the pedestrian zone of your city, at your gym ...

If you like, you can tie your legs at knee level with a belt or a therapeutic strap. But please be especially cautious then, because your balance is completely different when walking. So please don't fall on your beak โ€ฆ uh, your nose ๐Ÿ‘ƒ.
For all others: just keep your knees stiff and your thighs together ๐Ÿ™‚.

The winner will nominate at least three other people who will host corresponding races of grown-ups and/or kids within 24 hours.
The losers donate one Euro per meter of the lost race to the Bowspirit Kids ( and thus help to enable sick and traumatized children a "recreation from illness".

Ask a friend to film ๐ŸŽฅ your race and post your video e.g. in your Facebook chronicle and share it on our Facebook page for this campaign
You don't use social media? Then send us your video and a small text, which we may publish with it, by ๐Ÿ“ฉ e-mail at

You find it silly to waddle around like a penguin?
Too bad, but then you should at least send Bowie some "taxi money" ... maybe three times the amount you saved on the race track in Euro?!

You haven't been nominated yet? ... Never mind - just start your own section of the race. Bowie is happy about every meter we take from him ๐Ÿง.

On your marks - Ready - G O !!! ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿง๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿง
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Why I went "all in" for Bowspirit Kids

In an interview with Heinrich Wilhelm Driver, Michael Speckenbach (49), a lawyer from Lรผbeck (Germany), explains why he founded Bowspirit Kids, why he used everything he had for this purpose, and why this project will not only change the lives of potential little guests in the short run.

For all those who have never heard of Bowspirit Kids before: In three sentences - what does this name stand for?
Bowspirit Kids is a non-profit organisation. Our aim is to create a floating holiday and recreation camp for sick and traumatised children and teenagers on board an older passenger ferry. For this we have now started the crowdfundraising phase, because we don't have the "big unknown" who finances and makes this vision come true, but we rely on many small contributions from many very ordinary people like you and me, who are inspired by our vision and help out.

What exactly do we have to envisage under a floating holiday and recreation camp?
Perhaps let me answer your question with a play on words that Erich Kรคstner may forgive me for: We want to create a "floating playroom". A ship on which, in addition to the cabins and the areas necessary for physical well-being, such as the kitchen or restaurant, there is everything a child's heart desires. A place where our young guests can finally be again what they were temporarily denied by illness and/or trauma: kids.

You hung up your lawyer's robe and also used the proceeds from the sale of your house. Let us please talk more detailed about what you have initiated so that the readers can understand why you are going this way.
You're talking about sick and traumatised children. This means that you have doctors and nurses on board and want to carry out therapies there.
Yes and no. We are not a hospital ship. If you want to come to us on board, you must have completed the hospital therapy or a therapy phase. At that moment the patient-child is no longer in hospital or, in the case of trauma patients, no longer in intensive therapy, but it is not yet healthy. And that is exactly the problem. Follow-up treatment or rehabilitation measures are available for children and youths in Germany only under very limited conditions, because these are usually measures of vocational rehabilitation of the pension insurance institutions, but the children do not exercise a profession. On the other hand, if there are, they are linked to a clinical picture that can be treated during the rehabilitation period. But when it comes to integrating something that has happened into one's own life and learning how to deal with it, our social systems fail at this point. And if we look abroad in Europe, then there are no corresponding measures for adults and certainly no measures for the sick children or their siblings.

That is the gap you want to close.
That is the gap in health care that we as a society must close ... that Bowspirit Kids offers a solution for.
We want to show these children that they can achieve (almost) anything in the rest of their lives despite or because of what they have experienced.

So psychotherapy.
To be honest, I struggle with the term therapy. Our potential guests have had various therapies and treatments before they come on board. I don't want parents, doctors or possibly children to say or think for themselves that there is this therapy ship - that's where I have to go now.
We will have very well-trained therapeutic staff on board. And if a child signals in any way that he or she has something on his or her heart, then everyone from the sailor to the female captain and especially the kindergarten teachers will be able to hear this wish between the lines.

Couldn't this also be achieved with a trip to the seaside? Why does it have to be a cruise?
That's how I thought at the beginning. A camp at the Baltic Sea coast. The more I thought about who should come and what should happen during the stay, the clearer it was that this is not appropriate.
In addition to many detailed ideas for the implementation of the trips, which are still a bit of music of the future and would therefore lead a little too far at this point, our project is supported by two core ideas in this respect.
Some of our potential guests simply went through hell. We therefore think that just the best should be good enough in any case for these children and youths. And this is certainly a sea voyage even today - especially if it takes place with a "floating playroom" and one is allowed to get to know and visit areas of the ship that a guest would otherwise never have the chance to see. One never forgets this experience. I put a positive experience on the side of the negative experience of illness - it doesn't erase it, but it puts it into perspective.
Secondly, life itself is also a journey. We would like to offer our little potential guests a very special journey to start into a hopefully healthy future. If this journey would "only" go to a coast, there would be a border - the sea. However, our young guests have experienced more than enough barriers and borderline experiences. Just as we symbolize it with our name, we want to express that despite what they have experienced, (almost) everything is still possible if the children and teenagers learn to trust themselves again with our help and learn to integrate the foul that fate has played for them into their future lives. We want to leave port A and leave what they have experienced behind us - unfortunately we cannot undo it. And we arrive at port B again. And even if they return home afterwards, our guests will be able to view their return to everyday life from a different perspective and return "upright" to their future lives.

Complete release at:
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Dear friends of the Bowspirit Kids,

the quiet time at the end of the year - no matter whether we celebrate Christmas as a Christian event or not - lets us pause, hopefully look back with gratitude on the past year and look forward with confidence to the coming year.

Every time two people forgive each other,
it's Christmas.

Every time you show understanding for your children,
it's Christmas.

Every time you help a person,
it's Christmas.

Every time someone decides to live honestly,
it's Christmas.

Every time a child is born,
it's Christmas.

Every time you try to give your life a new meaning,
it's Christmas.

Every time you look at each other with the eyes of your heart,
with a smile on your lips,
it's Christmas.

I would like to thank all those who have shown me appreciation over the past few months, as well as all those who have joined us in making Bowspirit Kids - the floating holiday and recreation camp for sick and traumatised children - a reality by word and deed, through their financial contributions or by sharing news in a motivated and motivating way.

To all those who still hesitate to join us, the Christmas story should be remembered: The shepherds and the The Three Kings came in a hurry - as the old writings tell us - and brought the child presents. Each one of them had what he could spare - even if it was "only" a good wish. They did not do this for themselves or to receive anything in return. Nor did they do so because they knew that God's Son was really lying in front of them in the manger. They did this because they were enthusiastic and inspired by the idea that it might be God's Son, whom they welcomed in his first days here on earth. And maybe it really was.

Bowspirit Kids is a vision that will become reality if everyone helps. The individual often underestimates the power of the individuals.
Be courageous and follow those who have already invested a significant six-digit amount in Bowspirit Kids.
Our future guests will be grateful to you for the rest of their lives because they will be inspired and amazed on board with us so that nothing is the same as it was before.

Blessed and Merry Christmas to all of you!

Michael & Bowie ๐Ÿง

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Our mascot - Bowie - needs your support now. Go to our website now and help us to enable sick and traumatised children a "recreation from illness" ๐ŸŒˆ.

And to let you know what Bowie stands for, here's a little more about him:

We thought Bowie would be the perfect mascot. Bowie is an emperor penguin: black tailcoat and distinctive "egg yolk" trim on his chest.

Bowie is a "young rebel", so our graphic designer, Elke, gave him a fitting blue punk hairstyle. Bowie also has such a big heart that even the yellow spots on his ear have formed in the shape of a heart. And something happened to Bowie a while ago, but the worst is over now - and that is why he still wears a small bandage.

What does an emperor penguin have to do with sick and traumatised children and youth? - A whole lot...

Being a penguin, Bowie is a bird... but he can't fly. How silly is that? And Bowie is an exceptionally good diver, but he's not a fish. He symbolises that even if you are different and the other birds or fish look down their noses at you, you can still have a good life.

Bowie and the other emperor penguins live in Antarctica - not exactly the most inviting climate conditions. Despite these inhospitable living conditions, however, they go through life standing tall.

To survive the snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic winter, colonies of emperor penguins huddle together in groups, each one constantly rotating their place. This way, the penguins that have formed the outer rim of the group for a while are let back into the middle by the others in order to warm up again. Social togetherness and cooperation, instead of selfishness on the part of the "roommates" in the warm interior of the group, ensures the survival of each bird. Maybe we can learn something from Bowie and his family for our society in the future.

And last but not least, the males are responsible for the brood care in the emperor penguin colonies. So maybe it is no coincidence that the idea for Bowspirit Kids was developed by two "guys" ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Bowie is symbolic of every Bowspirit Kid who will be our guest and who, despite or precisely because of his or her individual experience, will stand tall again after being on board with us and head into a self-determined future.

The idea behind our name says it all:

Bowspirit Kids - We make penguins fly ๐Ÿง.
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Bowspirit Kids - Water Is Our Element

Our mission is to help sick and traumatised children ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘ฆ and let them take a "recreation from illness" ๐ŸŒˆ and make it possible for kids to stay at a floating holiday and recreation camp ๐Ÿšข.
As a way to realise the Bowspirit Kids concept, we have come up with the "world's largest floating pinboard" ๐Ÿ˜.

Write your message on the virtual side of our ship. Or maybe post a text that is personally important to you ๐Ÿ“œ? How would you like to see your picture ๐Ÿ–ผ there? It can be a photo, painting ๐ŸŽจ, drawing, graffiti - anything goes. Let your creativity run free and show the world what moves you...
And if a lot more people get involved and think like you and both of the ship's sides get filled in with posts, then your post will be on the actual ship, it will travel the sea and be viewed by even more people - for at least 12 months! On the "world's largest floating pinboard".

Join in now ๐Ÿ‘โฃ

#BowspiritKids #Bowspirit #Bowie #WaterIsOurElement #Theworldslargestfloatingpinboard #Turningchildrenstearsintotearsofjoy
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World record attempt of the Bowspirit Kids - "The world's largest floating pinboard"

With a world record attempt the Bowspirit Kids start the crowdfundraising phase for their floating holiday and recreation camp for sick and traumatised children.

The Bowspirit Kids Group wants to acquire an older passenger ferry to operate all year round as a nautical recreation camp for sick and traumatised children and their siblings - often called the "shadow children" - who will experience fun and take a recreation from illness during their journey.

"During the planning phase we felt it was relatively uninspired to ask other people only for donations for our important project", says Michael Speckenbach, co-initiator and founder of the Bowspirit Kids Group. "We wanted to combine the fun of helping with an achievable challenge. That's how the idea of the 'world's largest floating pinboard' came about."

And it is not just a corkboard with pins on a small boat. Or a pinboard that simply gets tossed into the water. No, it will be on the sides of an actual large seagoing vessel. This has never been done before and it will be a world record.

But before that, the virtual sides of the ship on the Bowspirit Kids Group's website ( need to be filled with entries that are subject to a fee and thus co-finance the purchase of the ship.

Each entry on the virtual pinboard will be affixed to the sides of the real ship with printed film. This method has long been established in the maritime industry for use as corrosion protection and for affixing large advertising messages.

All pinboard entries remain on the sides of the ship for at least twelve months and thus travel with the ship through the real world: e.g. from the shipyard to the base port. Or from the base port during recreation camp voyages through the Baltic Sea, North Sea or around Europe. Or on special trips to the Arab world or the American East Coast.

"We have already set a new record", Speckenbach is happy. "Never before has there been such a large virtual pinboard in which visitors to a website can zoom, scroll and browse through the entries of their fellow users. The web designers of the Lรผbeck-based web-agency VICON have broken new ground here and with a size of 130 x 6 metres for every side of the ship have created something unprecedented."

With the help of a freely selectable pseudonym, your own entry can also be found by (social media) friends and family in no time at all and is displayed centred on the screen in the highest zoom level - no matter where and on which side of the ship it is located (pseudonym examples to try out: oneshoop, papa, guehh).

And the great thing is that everyone can join in with an individual text, greeting, graphic or photo. The creation is very easy thanks to the integrated text and graphic editors. A text entry can be formatted (font, font colour, font size and background colour). Or you can upload a finished graphic file. A calculator shows the amount of the fundraising contribution for each entry. The prices are graded according to size: The prices start at one euro per square centimetre with a minimum size of 18 sqcm for text messages or 100 sqcm for graphic posts.

For the first 520,000 sqcm, a special price of 0.50 โ‚ฌ per sqcm applies for graphics and image files, for a maximum of 200 sqcm per supporter.

The "world's largest floating pinboard" is especially suitable for entrepreneurs with heart to place their (advertising) message, because the pinboard entry is not a classic donation due to the return service provided, so there is no upper limit for the tax claim as a business expense.

"It is our goal to have filled our virtual ship's sides by early summer 2019 in order to be able to enter into the real implementation", says Michael Speckenbach. "It is an ambitious project, but world records don't lie on the road. Every small and large contribution counts. And everyone has the chance not only to do good with a few euros, but also to become part of this world record."

Elke Thompson, member of the board of trustees, explains why the Bowspirit Kids campaign should be supported: "Bowspirit Kids has the potential to not only brighten the lives of sick children, but also those of their families. I am a mum and step mum to seven kids - my first husband died suddenly and unexpectedly, aged only 34, in 2009 - and I know first hand how much a life-threatening or rare, lifelong illness can turn a family's life upside down. In 2012, I myself was diagnosed with breast cancer; the same year my then seven-year old son got the diagnosis 'narcolepsy / cataplexy'. Tests. Check-ups. Hospitals. Fear. Not knowing. Medication. Chemo. Doctors ... - that was our new normality. As much as we tried to continue 'normally' - it was impossible. Our other children lost the part of our attention that was now taken up by fear, uncertainty, hospital appointments and treatment. The emotional stress was enormous - for everyone. Laughter almost an exception. Bowspirit Kids would have been such a great and welcome distraction, which would have provided us with new, much needed, strength and life energy."
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Hi folks,

thanks a lot for the warm welcome that you have given me and the great idea that I stand for.

For me really to learn to fly, I now need the help of each one of you:

We are looking for ...

... journalists with heart โค๏ธ who may give wings to our vision with their coverage in the conventional media (print ๐Ÿ“ฐ, radio ๐Ÿ“ป, TV ๐Ÿ“บ) all around Europe,
... owners of communication agencies with heart ๐Ÿ’™ who pro bono may recommend our message to their favourite journalist,
โ€ฆ HR directors with heart ๐Ÿ’š who may spread the word about Bowspirit Kids via their company's intranet,
... people with heart ๐Ÿ’› who may spare one or three euros ๐Ÿ’ฐ as a donation for sick and traumatised children,
... people with heart ๐Ÿงก who may take part in our world record attempt "The world's largest floating pinboard" and thus make possible the purchase of an older passenger ferry ๐Ÿšข for the planned camp vacations,
... people with heart ๐Ÿ’œ who cannot spare one or three euros but may tell ๐Ÿ“ข one or three other people about Bowspirit Kids.

Kindly share my message with your network. - Sharing is caring!

Best regards
Bowie ๐Ÿง
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Bowspirit Kids - A Recreation from Illness

What Bowspirit Kids ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘ฑ is all about is explained visually in our image film ๐ŸŽฅ .
Our heartfelt โค project is now dependent on your support!

And this is how you can help:
At you can donate any amount in the classic way.
At you can contribute to the "world's largest floating pinboard" by making your own fee-based entry - text or picture.
Your picture ๐Ÿ–ผ or text ๐Ÿ”  will later be transferred to the real ship ๐Ÿšข and travels with it across the oceans ๐ŸŒ. Isn't that cool!? ๐Ÿ˜

#BowspiritKids #Bowspirit #Bowie #Theworldslargestfloatingpinboard #Turningchildrenstearsintotearsofjoy
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Bowspirit Kids - Turning children's tears into tears of joy

Wouldn't it be great if there was a place where sick and traumatised children could go to relax and unwind? Where the seriousness of the disease and the worries of family and friends could be forgotten for a time?
A place where it doesn't matter where you come from, but who you are.

We are creating exactly such a place: A floating holiday and recreation camp for sick and traumatised children. A ship that can also be used for maritime adventure-based and experiential learning programmes for kids to discover and explore the ocean.

The name Bowspirit Kids expresses this place. It is an idea that will become a great one if you help out now.

Unfortunately children are not spared from experiencing such traumatic events as the diagnosis of a serious illness, death of a loved one or having to flee your home and country. The mental, emotional and physical stress of hospital stays, treatments and therapy is often an everyday occurrence for the child and his/her family for years. If the child has to travel far from home for the treatments, the stressful situation is exacerbated even more. Many of the young patients are not allowed to enjoy the usual childhood activities: playing, swimming, climbing and a lot more.

The aim of the activities of the Bowspirit Kids Group is to establish a facility that will give sick and traumatised children and their siblings - often called the "shadow children" - the opportunity to have fun and take a recreation from the illness. Bowspirit Kids views itself as a nautical holiday camp that does not take a specific, overarching therapeutic approach, but of course includes individual therapy and treatments. Our focus is on enjoying life, having fun and being a kid.

"Water is our element", says co-initiator and managing director Michael Speckenbach. "In terms of evolutionary history, all life on our planet comes from the sea. What could be more obvious than to use the sea as a healing power. Our source is the starting point for a brief journey to one's inner self - for our young guests as well - and thus the basis for a powerful 'something has happened to me - and that's right!'."

The concept of the Bowspirit Kids Group therefore envisages the establishment of a year-round nautical camp for sick and traumatised children and their siblings that utilises the mobility of a passenger ferry to operate outside of the base location and which has all the necessary facilities on board.

Depending on the current volume of donations and the proceeds from commercial sponsoring activities, sea voyages to various locations worldwide are planned in the coming years, in order to present the Bowspirit Kids Group and its work there and to initiate further projects based on the guiding theme of a "recreation from illness". The visits to the locations should also provide sufficient time for local encounters, "taster stays" and educational adventure-based camps.

"With today's presentation in our future home port of Lรผbeck, this very ambitious project is entering a decisive phase," says Speckenbach. "We are convinced that our society is ready to make a vision come true together with us."

Renate Schรถnbohm, member of the Board of Trustees of the Bowspirit Kids Group, adds: "Humankind's most precious assets - our children - in some situations, need safe ferries to cross the sometimes stormy ocean of life. Bowspirit Kids achieves just that - literally and figuratively." Board member Prof. Dr. Salvatore Grisanti sums up: "We want to turn children's tears into tears of joy."

None other than Walt Disney said "If you can dream it, you can do it." - What about you? Can you imagine how our young guests meet their family again happily and strengthened after their stay on board with us? Then help out now that our common vision becomes reality ...
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