Monday, August 28, 2017

What Save The Bay Camps Are All A“BOAT”

Juila Akerman, communications intern

It was a beautiful Wednesday morning at Save The Bay in Providence, the seagulls were chirping and the calm water was projecting a beautiful mirrored image of the sky. For most people in the Save The Bay community, it was just another spectacular day at the office, however, for about 20 students from the PASA (Providence Afterschool Alliance) program, today was the most important day of their summer.

The infamous cardboard boat race was about to start. Crowds of young campers and curious employees flooded the docks down by the water. The campers participating divided up in their four groups and presented their hand crafted boats.

How did these 7th and 8th graders construct these vessels from scratch? Well, over the past five weeks, the students worked hard with two Save The Bay instructors that taught them how and why things float through various lessons and a buoyancy lab. The buoyancy lab focused on the correlation between mass, volume, density and the ability of objects to float. The students were given the opportunity to manipulate the volume of objects to create a certain density that would make it float. This lab prepared them for their engineering project which was to construct these vessels out of cardboard and make sure that they would float using the knowledge they acquired during class and the lab. After about 20 rolls of duct tape, the students were ready to put their vessels to the test. Today was the day they had been waiting for all summer, it was time to show off all their hard work at the Save The Bay boat race.
The overall goal of the race was to paddle from one dock to the next, and return without sinking. Two daring sailors from each team geared up in bright orange life jackets and paddles. The race was about to begin, the ecstatic spectators were cheering and clapping, anxiously waiting for the young sailors to put their “paddle to the metal” and battle to the finish line.

The counselors and Captain Dan assisted all the jittery crew members into their respective vessels. Captain Dan exclaims, “Alright ladies and gentlemen! Who’s ready?!” The crowds on the docks start roaring like thunder, igniting the young sailors with excitement. Counselor Lindsay waits in the water in her kayak, holding a lifeguard ring, ensuring the safety of all the participants in the race.

Finally, it’s time. Captain Dan shouts, “On your mark, get set, GO!” The sailors dig their paddles into the water and paddle as hard as they can. The spectators on the docks are jumping up and down with excitement as the sailors make their way across the water to the other dock and back. For some teams, like the Titanic II, their journey doesn’t get them far before water starts flushing in the boat, causing it to slowly sink and forcing them to abandon ship. The Titanic II members laugh as they swim over to the ladder, accepting that their leaking cardboard ship caused them to lose the race.
For the other contestants, the race isn’t over yet. An ambitious camper Tyler calls out to his partner, “paddle! Paddle!” hoping that they can claim the first place title for their team. Paddling with every ounce of energy left in their bodies, the rest of the boats safely return to the docks. The counselors help the campers back onto the dock where they are high fived and celebrated by their teammates. All the PASA students can’t help but smile, expressing their happiness and satisfaction with the project they just completed.

The counselors and spectators all give a huge round of applause to the students, congratulating them for their hard work and accomplishments. The fun doesn’t end there for the PASA students because the ambitious counselors have an eventful summer planned for them and the cardboard boat race was just a hint of what’s to come.