By Bridget Ryan
Bridget Ryan is the Lead Teacher for the summer youth programs at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. She runs the day to day operations for our Boston Harbor Explorers and All Access Boston Harbor programs with her partner in crime, Kristen Barry (Youth Program Director). However, during the year she teaches Social Studies and coaches the varsity soccer and softball teams at the John D. O’Bryant in Roxbury.
Way haul away, haul away Joe!
It’s hard to believe that I wrapped up my seventh summer with Save the Harbor over two months ago. It feels like only yesterday I was reading blogs, holding staff meetings, fishing, and visiting the Harbor Islands all the while, mentoring some of the best kids in Boston.
I am often asked why I work in the summer and what makes me keep coming back to Save the Harbor. That answer is easy; it’s our staff, the kids, the beauty that is Boston Harbor. All of the above. Every summer I have the opportunity to work with some of the most caring, influential, dedicated, and enthusiastic kids in and around Boston. This summer we hired 24 high school and seven college students to make up the majority of our staff. Being a Boston Public School teacher, I am able to hire former students and this summer did not disappoint as we had several O’Bryant students and alumni working as Junior Program Assistants and Lead Harbor Explorers.
As we embarked on our summer programs, I was extremely impressed with our returning staff. Whether they were Junior Program Assistants (JPAs) or Lead Harbor Explorers (LHEs), they hit the harbor running in leadership roles helping teach our new staff how to run the STEAM curriculum at each site allowing for hands-on lessons that are such a core part of our programming. The nature of our summer positions promotes leadership, collaboration, enthusiasm, writing skills, and gaining familiarity with public speaking without any formal training, so last year we turned this into an official Save the Harbor program.
In its second year, our Youth Jobs and Leadership Program continued with a large focus on the team. As educators and coaches, Kristen and I know the importance of hard work and supporting your peers, especially in a summer job where you are working with and enhancing the lives of Boston's youth. Our staff enrichment days were designed with these goals in mind and to get the staff out into the community for service projects, career presentations, and speaker series.
We first heard from Adam Scully-Power, a motivational speaker who enlightened our staff about mental toughness and that they can accomplish anything as long as they believe in themselves. A few weeks later, our staff jumped into kayaks and paddled around Fort Point channel picking up trash with our friends from Harvey Traveler, L.L.Bean and Boston Fun Cruises. Many of our kids had never kayaked before and were hesitant to join in on the adventure. But within minutes they were laughing and feeling comfortable on the water. Teamwork and fun were key factors in making this enrichment day a success!
Our second enrichment day took us to the USS Constitution Museum for a bit of naval history of Boston Harbor. Staffers participated in hands-on activities and were invited back to tour the rest of the museum. From there we went over to the U.S. Coast Guard Base in the North End to hear more about the career opportunities available to our staff. We toured the Base and were able to explore some of their fleets. Our staffed loved asking questions and learning more about what the Coast Guard does and why it is under the Department of Homeland Security and not the Department of Defense. It was great to see how interested our staff was in the opportunities that they would be given at Base Boston.
Staff Day is an event that everyone looks forward to each summer. We board The Belle and set off for a fun-filled day at Lovells Island. Tidal pooling, exploring the island, and team bonding was the name of the game. Our staff left the island refreshed, educated, and excited to tell their friends about a Boston Harbor Island they had visited.
I could not have asked for a better staff to work with this summer. This squad worked hard to bring smiles to young faces all around Boston whether it was on Carson Beach splashing into the harbor, sand raking with Andres Amador, reeling in 45'' stripers, or exploring Spectacle Island. Only 214 more days until we get to do it all over again! (Not that I'm counting...)
Sea you on the harbor,
Save the Harbor's free Share the Harbor Cruises are made possible with Leadership Grants from the Cronin Group, LLC, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Bay State Cruise Company, and Massachusetts Bay Lines
Save the Harbor is also grateful for Leadership Grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Exelon Generation, and John Hancock Financial Services.
Save the Harbor is grateful for Partnership Grants from the Boston Bruins Foundation, Boston Properties – Atlantic Wharf, Boston Properties—200 Clarendon, The Daily Catch Seaport, Davis Family Charitable Foundation, Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Engie, Fan Pier - The Fallon Company, Highland Street Foundation, Hood Business Park, The HYM Investment Group, LLC, IR+M Charitable Fund, The Llewellyn Foundation, Massachusetts Port Authority, National Grid Foundation, P & G Gillette, Lawrence J. and Anne Rubenstein Charitable Foundation, William E. Schrafft & Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, Clinton H. & Wilma T. Shattuck Charitable Trust, and Vertex.
Save the Harbor also appreciates Stewardship Grants from Anonymous, Camp Harbor View Foundation, Circle Furniture , Comcast, Copeland Family Foundation, The Cricket Foundation, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, Davis Family Charitable Foundation, East Boston Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Charitable Trust, Dorr Charitable Foundation, Enbridge, Tom & Lucinda Foley, Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation, The Kershaw Foundation – Cheers for Children, George Lewis - Haven Trust, Liberty Bay Credit Union, Lovett Woodsum Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, MarineMax Russo, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Nicholson Foundation, Pabis Foundation, REI, RMR Real Estate Services, Rockland Trust Pavilion, Skanska, Abbot & Dorothy H. Stevens Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, and Tishman Speyer.
Save the Harbor would also like to thank our Program Funders Andus Baker & Rowan Murphy Family Fund, MA Attorney General’s Office Healthy Summer and Youths Jobs Program, The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, Boston Fisheries Foundation, Andrew Calamare & Marianne Connolly, Cell Signaling Technology, Diversified Automotive, Legal Sea Foods, Miss Wallace M. Leonard Foundation, Mass Bay Credit Union, Matthew J. & Gilda F. Strazzula Foundation, UDR, and Kyle & Sara Warwick.
Save the Harbor would also like to extend our gratitude to our Supporters 3A Marine Service, The Bay State Federal Savings Charitable Foundation, Cresset Group, Massachusetts Marine Educational Trust, Polkadog Bakery, Randy Peeler & Kate Kellogg.
Special thanks as well to the hundreds of individual donors for their generosity and to our partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the YMCA of Greater Boston for their support.