Thursday, July 19, 2012

Profile: The McDonough Sailing Center

The McDonough Sailing Center provides a free and instructive sailing program for the children of South Boston.  Kids can spend their entire day eating, laughing, and playing on the docks; or they can enjoy sailing together or independently around the harbor.  Both Save the Harbor and the Sailing Center share a goal of giving everyone equal opportunities to enjoy Boston Harbor.

McDonough Sailing Center is a perfect site for our Harbor Explorers Program.  When our Harbor Educators arrive, the kids are excited for their ocean life adventures.  They gather around as the bait is set into the crab trap and they quickly lower it into the water.  The trap admittedly does not stay down for long because the kids are too excited too see what their bait has attracted.  Some are brave enough to grab the crabs themselves, and others need our Harbor Educators help to learn how to hold them properly.  After hours of crabbing the kids never cease being fascinated by their clawed friends. The day we visited, the kids were especially excited about a certain crab named "Psycho".  He was missing one claw, which the kids learned could have happened when he had gotten scared or threatened. "Psycho" was also a very feisty crab.  When we arrived all the kids knew exactly what they wanted to do first; they all ran to get the crab trap. 

    Crabbing is not the only adventure offered to the energetic bunch at the Sailing Center. Our educators also bring out the fishing rods and teach them how to use clams, mussels, and crabs for bait.  After being taught to cast safely, the kids are ready to go, catching both crabs and fish, and maybe some sea lettuce as well.  It does not matter whether they have fished all their life or have never even cast a line, by the end of the day each child is confident in their fishing ability.  Another opportunity provided by our Harbor Educators is being able to see a real life lobster, and learning how lobster traps work. By the time that the activities are coming to a close, the kids seem to have the same amount of energy as they did from the start, and are disappointed that their fun can’t continue with more exciting harbor activities.

-Alyssa and Bridget

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