The last in my series of catching-up stories from the holiday week. April Yee's July 3 article in the Boston Globe presented the story of Camp Harbor View. Read it and feel good.
The camp is the brainchild of Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who was looking for a place for city kids to escape, play, get fresh air, and eat good food during the summer. It is an extraordinary example of the power of municipal leadership. He engaged community leaders like Jack Connors, a retired advertising executive, John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction, and others.* Creating an alliance with the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the Mayor created a children's paradise on Long Island, one of the harbor islands just minutes from downtown Boston.
Here are details from the organizers: Camp Harbor View will provide a fun and safe environment for youths to challenge themselves, make new friends, and experience a world beyond their neighborhoods. The camp experience will include athletics, arts, leadership development, and environmental education. Activities will include arts and crafts, tennis, basketball, hiking, field trips, a ropes course, and aquatics. The camp will also provide each camper with three nutritious meals per day. An on-site health facility will be staffed by healthcare professionals during camp hours of operation, to attend to any medical issues that may arise.
The campers are picked up by bus each morning at 8:00 a.m. at designated areas within Boston neighborhoods. Buses return campers to those designated areas each evening, departing the camp at 6:00 p.m. following the evening meal. The fee for each camper is $5 for the four-week session ($1.25 per week). Admission is based on referrals from community and neighborhood organizations. Upon acceptance to the camp, each youngster receives a welcome kit that includes a warmup suit, a T-shirt, a hoodie, and a backpack.
Mayors get all kinds of criticism and praise, often for things beyond their control, and sometimes earned and sometimes not. Here, though, is a fine example of civic leadership for which "Hizzoner" deserves unqualified congratulations. Bravo to him and the community leaders who helped him make this program possible!
You can make donations to support the camp here.
*By the way, Jack is Chairman of the Board of Partners HealthCare System and John is a member of the BIDMC Board. The competitive rivalry between our two hospital systems fades away completely when these two work together to help the community.