BOSTON (The Boston Globe) — Nobody says good morning like Chazz Guerra says good morning.
“G-O-O-D M-O-R-N-I-N-G,” Guerra half sang, half shouted into a bullhorn in front of the Great Hall. There are few things Guerra, a 25-year-old camp counselor, likes more than The First Day of Camp.
More than 200 Camp Harbor View middle schoolers were assembled in front of him on the sports fields, wilting in the hot and humid conditions around 9 a.m. on Monday — a tough crowd.
Camp Harbor View is a free summer camp for Boston middle schoolers on the southern end of Long Island in Boston Harbor. The Great Hall is the mess hall in the center of camp, with the ferry dock, sports fields, and high-ropes course to the north and the pool and arts pavilion to the south.
BOSTON (Boston 25 News) — Camp Harbor View is the brainchild of former Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Boston businessman Jack Connors, who wanted to find a use for the then-untouched land on Long Island. The idea was just to engage middle-schoolers during summer months. But whether it’s learning to sail, fish, climb a rock wall or learn a new sport, the free summer camp has become so much more to the city’s young people over the last 15 years.
Our Executive Director, Lisa Fortenberry, recently sat down with Jenny Johnson on Comcast Newsmakers to discuss the unforgettable summer ahead for CHV campers and why, now more than ever, the joys of just being a kid at camp can be a life-changing experience for middle schoolers emerging from pandemic isolation.
Wearing earrings that said “Young, Black, and Educated” and walking across the stage to accept my diploma from Salem State University, I felt awash in pride and heard my mom cheering loudly from the crowd.
I knew that this accomplishment wasn’t mine alone — my mother had put in 22 years of hard work to make this moment possible. Every sacrifice she made, every dollar she spent, it was all building toward this moment.
I see this same relentless determination and willpower in many of the teens and parents I work with at Camp Harbor View. I work as the Community Resource Coordinator here, and just about everyday I see a mom or dad who remind me of my mom — simply doing everything they can so their kids can thrive. It’s so rewarding for me to be able to help families that remind me of my own, and I wanted to share a few of the lessons I keep coming back to as I strive to support folks as completely as possible.
1. Start with an open mind Families know and feel that our support comes without judgment, and they learn quickly that we’re ready to show up for them through thick and thin. We don’t just offer support in certain ways or during certain hours — we’re here to meet families where they are. Once we establish with a family that we’re 100% committed to meeting them where they are, the work and relationship building becomes almost effortless.
2. Understand cultural differences and varied needs Although families experience similar struggles, not every family “struggles” the same, and not every family needs support in the same way. When supporting anyone, it is important to make resources equitable, attainable, and fitting for each person.
3. Commit to building long-term relationships Everyone comes in with their own life experiences. With each family that I work with, I know that it will take time to build trust and relationships. As a mother myself, I know this firsthand. The one thing that I keep in mind is a simple old lesson I got from my mother; always work to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Relatability comes with effort, listening, and practicing that very principle in each interaction.
It is the mission of Camp Harbor View to open new doors to opportunity, and I am proud to be part of that mission. The families that I work with never cease to amaze and inspire me and I am proud to support them along their journeys.
With the growth of our family service programs, I know that I will only continue to learn more from our amazing community, and I could not be more excited about the road ahead.
BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – Cities aren’t the only proponents of giving no-strings-attached cash to people in need. Here come the nonprofits.
The national movement, whichhad its local roots in Chelsea and spread to Cambridge, aims to empower low-income households with monthly stipends and settle an age-old debate about whether we can trust poor people with money instead of having them constantly jump through hoops to receive aid.
Advocates of so-called guaranteed income programs believe that low-income households know best how to lift themselves out of poverty rather than being told what to do. It’s that combination of confidence and cash that can help people move up the economic ladder.
At least threelocal nonprofits have launched pilots in recent months: Camp Harbor View with 50 families that are receiving $583 a month for two years; United South End Settlements with 16 families that are getting $800 a month for 18 months; and UpTogether — in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Harvard Business School, and others — has embarked on a research project providing nearly 1,500 families with varying amounts of money and social capital over 18 months.
From Thanksgiving dinner to gifts at the holidays, this annual tradition seeks to alleviate family stress and bring kids joy. It’s one of our most meaningful programs for families and donors alike, with both experiencing the generosity of spirit in the holiday season.
Take a look at this heartwarming video to see the Camp Harbor View community’s holiday celebrations with over 400 families from start to finish.
Thanks to the generous support of hundreds of donors, partners, and volunteers, we doubled the number of families reached this year, distributing $101,800 in gift cards for parents to use to purchase their children items on their wishlist, bins with household essentials, and festive holiday supplies. Happy Holidays for all of us at Camp Harbor View!
At Camp Harbor View we believe that it takes real relationships with the entire family to fully support Boston’s next generation. In this video you’ll meet Paula and three of her kids — Lereca, Bryan, and Gyara. They’ve been part of the Camp Harbor View family for over ten years — and their story shows how powerful we can be together when we invest in Boston families.
On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Camp Harbor Views – a free online experience for families, supporters, and champions of our mission – celebrated the resiliency of our community and shared our views on the past, present, and future of the organization.
Hosted by Jenny Johnson of NESN’s Dining Playbook and Camp Harbor View’s Advisory Council, it was an evening full of surprises. Over 700 attendees heard from organization leaders, champions, and a few special guests sharing stories of joy, hope, and the community that made it all possible. The celebration was capped off with four impressive Leaders in Training sharing their 2020 experiences and why they’re hopeful for the future.
Watch the evening’s program from start to finish below to hear more young leaders share their perspectives. We promise it will leave you energized and inspired.
Camp Harbor View is made possible by the generous support of donors. We hope you’re inspired to continue to invest in the future of Boston with us. Please consider donating to support our mission and share the magic of Camp Harbor View with family, friends, and fellow Bostonians by following us on social media. Thank you for being a part of this community.
BOSTON (CBS) – A popular Boston summer camp is working hard to provide summer fun, even though it can’t open in the traditional sense this year. The staff of Camp Harbor View on Boston’s Long Island spent Wednesday making special ‘summer engagement kits’ for would-be campers.
At Camp Harbor View, we often ask ourselves if we’re doing enough. Are we doing enough for our campers, Leaders in Training and staff? Are we doing enough for the families of the youth we serve? About six months ago, we decided that the answer to the last of those important questions was “NO.”
When the Boston Globe published its recent series on racial income disparity in Boston, one of the stunning statistics shared was that the average net worth of families of color in the city is $8.00. That’s not a typo – $8.00. Camp Harbor View has always been committed to promoting equity and opportunity in Boston, but this series stirred our desire to do more. Encouraged and supported by the Board of Directors, we decided to begin with Camp Harbor View families; to learn from them about the obstacles and hurdles they face with respect to economic mobility and to work with them to design pilot solutions to some of the most intractable problems they encounter.
We have taken the first step by engaging the services of the consulting team of Turahn Dorsey and Reverend Mariama White-Hammond to lead us through a process of information-gathering with families and LITs from our program, and then to work with family representatives and an advisory board composed of corporate leaders to create short and long-term solutions of varying size and scope.
Racial and economic inequality has long been the norm in Boston. We know that we cannot fix a problem of this magnitude, but we believe that we might be able to have an impact on at least a small group of families. Perhaps that grows into something more substantial and perhaps we will create a model that can be replicated. We realize this is a tall order, but we feel a deep responsibility to the families who have placed their trust in us, so we’re off and running. We’ll keep you posted.