all in the same boat - simple pleasures

It might have been a lost summer for New York City kids. Most camps are cancelled, only one pool in the entire Bronx opened, and beaches fill up and close early in the morning. The restrictions are biting, the statistics frightening, the risks unknowable. Kids haven’t had anything close to the fun and freedom of a normal summer. For this reason, Rocking the Boat is especially proud to be offering some of summer’s simple pleasures to roughly 100 sixth through 12th graders participating in our daily, remote programs, including Dylan and Wilfrandy.

 

Dylan, a rising freshman from the Longwood section of the Bronx, is a Rocking the Boat legacy. His older brother Kevin, who recently graduated from SUNY New Paltz, was in the Boatbuilding Program for all four years of high school and served this past year as an Alumni Mentor. When Kevin heard about the launch of the Summer Explorer Program for middle schoolers, he encouraged his brother to enroll with one phrase: you get to draw. Dylan’s favorite pastime is now an important element in learning about the nature of the Bronx. He sketches pollinators and their plants, creates watercolor cloudscapes, and curates a selection of pressed plants he finds in his neighborhood for his own personal herbarium (pictured above). Not just for the keen siblings of star graduates, the Explorer Program is free and open to any middle schooler in New York City, made possible by a grant from the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation.

 

In the final stretch of his high school career, Wilfrandy will start his senior year in the fall. Curious and always open to new experiences, he has excelled in the Sailing Program since joining Rocking the Boat over a year ago. “My favorite part of being out on the river are the views. It’s amazing!” he fondly recalls. Together with his peers from the Sailing, Boatbuilding, and Environmental Science tracks of the Youth Development Program, he is currently spending three days per week as an apprentice in the new program called the Bronx River Experience. The silver lining of staying in your neighborhood is learning to see it with new eyes. The miracle of a billion spores under a mushroom cap in the Thain Family Forest in the New York Botanical Garden comes to his home, where Wilfrandy and his fellow apprentices are farming their own organic mushrooms. He has studied the rings of a white oak tree in that same forest—coincidentally, white oak is the species that Rocking the Boat uses to build the backbone of its Whitehalls—each one colored by the unique conditions of that year’s growth. The group then began tree ring maps of their own lives. Perhaps this challenging summer will not be lost after all, but one of the most memorable bands. It's not the summer of sailing that Wilfrandy was looking forward to, but it’s allowing him to stay connected both with his friends in the Rocking the Boat community and to the river he loves.



kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474

info@rockingtheboat.org
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892

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