Overnight on Nantucket Island: Beach day, campfire cookout, and offshore fishing.

The Steamship Authority ferry floated up to the dock on Nantucket Island where I was waiting with the car and I immediately heard the shouts of kids yelling my name and waving from the deck of the boat. A few minutes later, 10 kids came running down the ramp to greet me, with their mentor Carly and EY instructor Alec trailing behind. A few people stopped to ask me just what Elevate Youth did and what we would be doing on the island this weekend, which I happily answered. The kids were some of the MVPs from the summer program with our partner organization, Harlem Lacrosse Boston, and this was the official summer wrap-up trip to celebrate a great season. The group was psyched to be on Nantucket for the first time.

We all jumped into the van and headed over to the house where we were staying, generously donated to Elevate Youth for the weekend by a family friend. On the front lawn were boogie boards, snorkels, beach chairs, paddles, and other various beach games to keep the kids entertained for the day. Everyone got into their suits and grabbed an item from the lawn, and then we set off for the five minute walk to Steps Beach where we would be spending the afternoon.

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Once we arrived at the beach, the kids dropped their belongings into the sand, and without opening a beach chair or setting their towels down, sprinted into the waves. Carly and I watched from shore as Alec went in after them and showed them the sand bar just a short swim out. After a while, exhausted from the waves, a few kids came out of the water and started digging holes to bury one another in the sand. Later, we had a group game of beach baseball with lacrosse sticks and we saw some competitive sides come out (while others stood in the “outfield” playing in the waves).

After a few hours, the kids, as well as the adults, were ready to pack up and head back to the house to regroup. But we couldn’t get enough of the beach, so we gathered food, coal, and the other equipment needed for a sandy evening cookout on the beach, and headed back. On the menu were hamburgers, hot dogs, and a lone veggie burger - and for dessert, smores and chocolate cake for a birthday celebration. The sunset was pink, orange, and beautiful, but the stars were the real spectacle that night; the kids couldn’t believe just how many there were.

When we were back at the house for the night, the kids opted out of watching a movie and instead organized a group game of manhunt around the house. This lasted for 2 hours while the adults played cards and kept our mouths shut when the kids asked where their friends were hiding. Finally it was lights out and we all passed out from a long day in the sand and the sun.

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In the morning, the group was definitely tired from the long beach day, but also excited to head out with Captain Tom’s Charters, who had donated two boats and four guides to Elevate Youth for the trip. All of the kids had been fishing with us before and had spent some time on the beach practicing their casting the day before, so they were psyched to spend the day catching Bonito, Albacore, and Blue Fish.

After 4 hours on the water, the kids were exhausted from reeling in fish and sitting in the sun on the water. They had all caught some fish, seen a bunch of seals, and loved the offshore tour around the island. I picked them up from the docks and set out for the ferry, but before we boarded we made one last stop at Nantucket’s best ice cream shop: The Juice Bar. The kids were a sight to see boarding the ferry, with their Capt. Tom’s shirts, sandy hair, and ice creams melting in their hands.  

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Alec Griswold