Hi everyone! This is Santiago and I’ll be summarizing Week 3 of the Hill to Harbor Discovery Camps for you all. In our previous field trip, we learned more about the Boston Heritage Trail and Boston African American National Historic Site, but now we are visiting the Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park.  

We took the YMCA campers out to Peddocks Island where we taught them new and useful skills. The boat rides from Long Wharf to the island were full of ups and downs. For the most part kids were staying in their seats, talking to their peers, and having fun, but sometimes they would get too loud or start losing their patience and frequently ask the same question, “are we there yet?”. With all of that, the rides were successful every day of the week and we were able to settle in at the island. Our first activity of the day was learning how to build camping tents. With the help of our Education Technicians we divided into groups and started explaining the process of pitching a tent step by step. After every group set up their own tent, we went over camping rules and campers were given time to have fun in the tents they had just built. At the end we would hold a competition to see who could take down their tent the quickest with the goal of promoting organization.  

After that fun activity we would move on to fishing! We partnered with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to teach the campers how to properly fish. We went over the types of marine life we could encounter when going fishing in the harbor and we talked about the rules to keep in mind when catching a fish. We handed out fishing rods to pairs of campers, taught them how to tie the “perfect knot” to firmly attach the bait to the string, and practiced casting on the shore. For safety concerns we didn’t use hooks, so we couldn’t catch any fish, but we still had tons of fun. After everyone had a chance to practice casting with the fishing rods, we would head to the tables by the island’s Visitor Center to have lunch! Lastly, when everyone was done with their lunch, each group had the chance to go on a guided nature walk to learn more about the different plants and wildlife living on the island. This was a way for the youth to connect with nature before taking the boat back to the city.  

With that we concluded the 3rd week of Discovery Camps with the amazing YMCA branches. The fun and interactive activities engaged all types of campers ages 7-12, who made memories they’ll never forget and learned skills they’ll use in the future to keep the National Park Mission alive.

Cover photo image description: A National Park Ranger leads a group of campers off the boar and onto a large wooden dock, right past a green sign that says, “Welcome to Peddocks Island.”

All photo credits to Matt Teuten

A camper stands with a youth employee along a pebble shoreline, fishing pole in hand. The employee looks on and teaches the camper how to cast their line. A long dock extends from the left edge across the photo and a little seafoam marks the water’s edge.
A group of campers and leaders dot the shoreline of Peddocks Island with many colored shirts. Some can be seen casting fishing poles, others watching and learning. The shoreline curves out of frame to the right and the town of Hull can be made out in the distance. A floating dock marks the left edge of the photo and the sky is overcast.
A person in a ballcap and blue shirt smiles at a crowd of campers as they hold up a cutout of a fish. The campers in the foreground are facing away from the camera. The background shows golden-brown dried grass leading to a shoreline that features a red boathouse and floating dock.

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