Week 2 – Charlestown Navy Yard

After an exciting introduction week, we held our first field trip for our young ambitious campers! We had the campers come visit where we work at the Charlestown Navy Yard (CNY). Similar to the week prior and surely the weeks that are to follow, we had our fair share of difficulty. But as always, we managed to figure out a way around them. The heat surely didn’t help but we found compromises and solutions. 

Our day would start off with us greeting the YMCA campers at the Navy Yard entrance and then we’d bring them to the Commandant’s Lawn for an opening circle and a bathroom break before we split up into the groups we created the week before. The schedule rotated to ensure that each group would be doing their own thing and wouldn’t mix up with the others. 

Hypothetically a group could start off with our water bottle activity, where we would give each camper a brand new water bottle and allow them to pick stickers to personalize them. Hydration is a major priority for us, so we wanted to make sure each camper had a bottle for all of our field trips. After that we would move on to exploring and got a guided tour of the USS Cassin Young, which is a WWII destroyer that is currently docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard and is open to the public. With the help of our friend, Park Ranger Sebastian, we gave the kids a tour of the ship and answered any questions they had. After, we explored the other ship that’s docked here, the USS Constitution, which is about 150 years older than the USS Cassin Young. The kids always take a big interest in the USS Constitution in particular because of its visual similarity to a pirate ship. 

Lastly, we would have them do one of two activities which would depend on their age. The older kids completed a scavenger hunt where they would have to find things around the park, like taking a photo next to an NPS logo or with a park ranger. The younger kids got to compete while building boats out of foil and seeing how many coins they can hold. In particular, this activity tied back to the two ships we just saw and what kind of ship design would be best equipped to hold the coins. 

Finally, we had our closing circle where campers each received a journal and could write or draw about what they enjoyed most throughout the day. This is a nice way to debrief relax, and calm down a little bit before the campers loaded the busses and headed back to their YMCA’s. Overall, we had a great day here at CNY!

A camper jumps to look through the scope of a machine gun on the retired USS Cassin Young.

One lucky group got to meet Commander BJ Farrell of the USS Constitution.  

“Did you know? The USS Constitution has been in 13 different engagements, and won them all!” – BJ Farrell 

“Wow! This ship has been married 13 times? That’s a lot!” – a YMCA Camper 

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