Up for the Challenge: Campers Build Confidence & Character on the Ropes Course

Arriving at Camp Harbor View the challenge course immediately catches the eye. With a rock wall towering over 50 feet above the flat Long Island landscape, it’s hard to miss. It’s a sign you’ve reached Boston’s Island of Opportunity and a symbol of summer fun. Not only is the challenge course a blast, but it’s also a powerful tool to teach campers leadership skills and teamwork while developing their confidence and trust in their peers. 

Camp Harbor View is built around opening opportunities for young people to explore, learn, and experience as much as possible — all year long. Youth should feel comfortable and safe and yet have opportunities to stretch and discover. Some take to the arts pavilion, where they push their creative boundaries. Others seek sailing and swimming and sports, and everyone gets a chance on the challenge course.

The course empowers campers’ critical thinking and creative problem solving. An important part of the experience is learning from frustrations and disappointments and working together to successfully adapt. 

Balance beam

Effective teamwork is essential in every exercise.  “While our campers – middle school kids from throughout the City of Boston – swing for the fences and climb toward the sky to look out over Boston Harbor and the city skyline, they are putting trust in their peers in pursuit of a shared goal.” Josh Waxman, Deputy Director of Camp Harbor View, explains. “I think that is incredibly powerful. The communication and collaboration required to make the whole system work is also worth emphasizing; it is a team exercise. Friendships are formed and relationships are strengthened on the challenge course for sure.” 

Next time you’re on the island to hear the distinctive call of 3. 2. 1. and witness a brave camper catapult through the air, think of the courage, conviction and strong community behind that crowning moment.  

ropes course grid

‘An island just for us’: opening day for summer camp on Long Island

BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – Sporting pink reflective sunglasses that matched her bright lipstick, Lisa Fortenberry clapped and yelled “Day one, baby!”

In front of her, campers exited their buses in single file Monday. Some tried to keep a cool countenance — one even kept his arms crossed as he strode along — but the staff’s energetic welcome was tough to resist. When the teenager thought no one was looking, he let a smile cross his face.

The campers were headed for a boat that would take them to Camp Harbor View, where a high-ropes course cuts the skyline, orange flags line a scenic boardwalk onto the island, and waves crash against the rocky waterline next to the basketball and tennis courts.

David Ortiz Surprises Kids At Camp Harbor View

BOSTON (CBS) – It was a summer camp surprise like no other when Big Papi visited Camp Harbor View, inspiring and encouraging the young people there. The camp works with at-risk kids from Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods. The message David Ortiz brought was perfect.

The kids roared their welcome for the former Red Sox slugger. They had no idea he would visit the camp on Long Island in Boston Harbor Thursday.

At Harbor Island Camp, Kids Train To Be Civic Leaders

BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – Sitting near the shore on a bucolic Boston Harbor island, 17-year-old Lereca Rodrigues thought back to when a cousin was shot last year in an inexplicable act of violence.

“He didn’t have that camp, or that support from somebody else behind him, or family to keep him off the streets,” the high school student from Dorchester said.

Rodrigues, however, has that support: Camp Harbor View on Long Island, which she has attended since she was 11. She was among 100 former campers who have returned to become leaders in training, spending the summer learning how to mentor the next generation of Boston youths in civic engagement and community action.

Teens Learn Business Skills, Make Money for College at Boston Farm

BOSTON (WBZ-TV) – They are city kids learning real life business skills, while making money for college. It’s happening on Hannah Farm, on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

The innovative program is preparing young people for the future, and making fresh, local food available in Boston neighborhoods.

Every day kids from Camp Harbor View work the one-acre field of Hannah Farm, helping plant, grow and harvest.

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On Long Island, Boston children become carefree campers

BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – In the midst of serene Boston Harbor, the sounds from one vessel punctuated the waters as 450 young passengers, many with tear-stained cheeks, made emotional farewells.

They sobbed, cheered, laughed, and shouted. They made bold declarations — “I’m going to miss you guys!” one camper announced into a can of Pringles converted into a megaphone — and vowed to stay in touch as the Provincetown II sailed away from Long Island on Thursday.

What could justify such varied, frenzied emotions?

It was the last day of summer camp.

Camp Harbor View is more than just a camp

BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – CAMP HARBOR VIEW is beginning our 11th season this week. In the past 10 years, we have learned a lot about operating Camp Harbor View. We know that we need 20,000 gallons of drinking water and 8,000 hot dogs for each summer session, and that we can expect to teach about 50 kids to swim for the first time in their lives.

Camp Harbor View Provides Unique Experiences for City Youths

BOSTON (WBZ Radio) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.

This month, WBZ Cares is focusing on Camp Harbor View, a summer camp on Boston’s Long Island that provides underserved youth in the city with unique experiences meant to build confidence and broaden horizons.

Although founded a decade ago, the camp’s inspiration started from a childhood memory of Jack Connors, a retired businessman.