Welcome back to another weekly blog with MaryKate! Today, I’m going to be talking about Save The Harbor All Access, which is, in my humble opinion, the best site of the summer. This summer, I was assigned to All Access, which is a program through Save The Harbor that takes youth groups from community organizations out to one of the Boston harbor islands every day, free of charge.
Each morning, my team and I meet to pick up supplies from the office, and head to the pier to meet the people we will take out to either Spectacle Island or George’s Island. On Wednesdays, we board the Provincetown II, and Tuesdays and Thursdays, we board the Freedom. We greet each group with a group picture and conversation, while they all prepare for the journey ahead of them. My personal favorite part of each morning is the presentation, by David Coffin, about the Boston Harbor Islands. This presentation takes place once all the groups are present, and provides guests, who may not know much about the history of the harbor, with exhilarating and interesting facts, along with some hilarious humor. Once we board the ship, making sure to account for everyone on board, we walk around and start sign ups for fishing lessons and get to know those joining us that day. On the island, we kick off the day by setting up for fishing. We bait the hooks with squid, set the crab trap to prepare for the touch tank, and get ready for the eager kids looking to learn from our harbors beautiful marine life. One of the best parts about teaching kids how to fish is seeing their curiosity and excitement bloom when reeling something up. They face their fears by holding the crabs, and we teach them how to identify the type of crab, most often green or Asian shore, and also how to see if they are male or female. My absolute favorite part is seeing returners who remember what we have taught them, and they often teach us more than we can offer them!
On the islands, guests have many options provided by our staff to explore the island and take part in activities led by our team, like hiking, swimming, games, tours, and fishing. Though, we are only allowed to swim on Spectacle Island, where there are on duty lifeguards and members of our teams looking out for those in the water. On days spent at George’s Island, I’m always eager to join team members and David for the tour of the fort, where we encounter old artifacts that are filled with the history of our city.
Since this is only my second summer working with Save The Harbor, I was never exposed to how much All Access has to offer. So far, I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone learning about marine life from my fellow team members, joining in activities I’m not familiar with, and using my voice to make participants remember their days spent with us. Every morning during the harbor history introduction, David Coffin never fails to ask, “how many of you have never been out to a harbor island?”, and every morning, more than half of our guests raise their hands. Although Boston is surrounded by water, I find it fascinating how many Boston residents have never been on the water, whether on a boat or even the beaches. I’ve had the privilege to be part of such a wonderful program that provides kids experiences and memories they will never forget, while taking advantage of the beautiful environment that surrounds them.
Excited to SEA you soon on All Access soon,