My First Outing with Elevate Youth

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Growing up in New Hampshire, I never considered that children in the city weren’t exposed to the same kind of environment that I was. Some of the most amazing hikes, beaches, and natural waterfalls are only a 15 minute drive from my house. Moving to the city for college certainly made me miss home (where are all of the trees?!?) and appreciate each bit of nature I get. As a part of Elevate Youth, having the opportunity to share some of these amazing experiences with kids and watch their reactions is incredible.

My first Elevate Youth adventure was sailing at Piers Park Sailing Center with a group of kids from Joseph Lee School in Dorchester. Accompanying me was my co-instructor Nick and Elevate Youth Board President, Robin.

When I arrived at the gates of Piers Park, I was in awe of the view ahead. I could see the whole city on the other side of the Harbor! As soon as the kids arrived, they ran towards me at full speed. “Are you coming sailing with us?” one of the girls excitedly shouted at me. I smiled and exclaimed “YES!” as she grabbed four of her friends and told me she wanted to be in the boat with me. We then stood in a circle, introduced ourselves, and finally, it was time to put on our life jackets.

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We walked down the ramp to the sail boats where the sailing guides were waiting for us. We jumped into the boats, raised the sail and we were off!

The view of the city had me in such awe, I could barely keep my composure. With each turn and tip of the boats the girls laughed and screamed with thoughts they might get splashed or the boat would tip over. But as time went on, they got more comfortable and started leaning over the edge to touch the water. They took turns steering the boat and using the tiller, learning how to hike the sail up and break it down, and we also talked a lot about wind currents and what would happen if there was no wind at all! The girls were very inquisitive about the compass that was built into the boat, and curious about every single rope in the boat and what they were used for. We even saw a few birds dive head first into the water and come back out with fish, which is something I haven’t even seen before.

After about two hours of singing, laughing, and learning it was time to head back in. To end the awesome experience, the girls learned how to bring the sail down and close up the boat for the day. We walked up the ramp, turned our life jackets in and returned to the group to discuss all of our favorite parts of the trip. “I liked reaching into the water! It was sooo cold!” “My favorite part was steering with the tiller!” Each answer was unique, but every response was echoed with “me too’s!!!” and the occasional “Oh wait, that was my favorite too, can I change my favorite part to that?” But I don’t blame them for their indecisiveness, because I don’t think I could choose my favorite part either!

by Brianna Frassica, Elevate Youth Outdoor Instructor

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Annie Hayes