Thursday, March 8, 2018

Saving the Bay is just one summer camp away

By Julia Akerman, Communications Intern

Standing down at the Save The Bay docks, children’s laughter echoes in the distance. A fleet of four motorboats filled with ecstatic young sailors comes creeping towards the docks. The boats dock and unload the salty and sun-kissed children, all beaming with excitement from spending the morning studying the surface of the Bay from their sailboats. However, for the next week at Save The Bay, they’re about to dive down under and experience a whole new world. These lucky campers are the next generation of Bay stewards who will help Save The Bay accomplish its mission to improve and protect the Narragansett Bay.

Parading up to the classroom, the campers’ hands are occupied by lifejackets, backpacks and snack boxes. The day starts with a variety of fun activities, such as “Steal the Lobster” and a “Simon Says” game with an exotic pirate twist to it. The campers burst with laughter and energy as they run around the counselors in circles trying to avoid getting tagged. “We try to incorporate as many games as possible throughout the program because they’re just kids and sometimes kids just need to be kids.” said Hanna, a camp counselor at Save The Bay.

When play time is over, the campers head to the classroom to expand their knowledge about the Narragansett Bay. Teaching the campers about the Bay will instill an understanding of its importance and teach them how to protect it. The counselors divide the campers up into four groups: salt marsh, rocky shore, eelgrass and sandy beach, each representing the four types of environments found in the Bay. At each table, counselors place a bin filled with exciting examples of objects found in their environment along with an information card. They huddle together and read the card out loud to learn more about their environment.

Little do they know the counselors are about to put their knowledge to the test. “Alright! Who’s ready to play jeopardy?” Counselor Hanna exclaims to the class. Suddenly, the setting in the classroom changes. The young campers immediately put their game faces on and focus on only one thing, winning.

After an hour of testing their new knowledge about the Narragansett Bay it’s time for a field trip to apply their newfound knowledge to the real shoreline. The campers head out to the rocky shore, lugging big buckets and chatting non-stop with their new friends. The counselors send out the campers to collect any critters they can find. The campers look everywhere under rocks and shells hoping to find a little rocky shore critter.

A camper Natalie shouts with excitement, “I found one! I found one!” She proudly shows off the small Asian shore crab she’s holding in her hands. All the other campers swarm around Natalie, trying to hide how envious they are of her finding. Natalie places the crab in her bucket and continues her search to find more critters.

An incredible first day at the Edgewood Sailing Camp has to come to an end. The campers put any critters they found back into the Bay, and the counselors lead them back up to the classroom where they pack up their belongings. Day by day, these campers are slowly becoming the next generation of Bay stewards who will help Save The Bay ecologically restore the Narragansett Bay, for the next 50 years. One by one, their parents come in to pick them up. Luckily, for the campers, this is just the start of what they will remember as the best week of their summer.

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