Wareham kids splash into second summer of outdoor exploration in Onset

Aiyana Monteiro, age 10, is knee-deep in water off the beach at Onset’s Burgess Point, and she’s caught something: she splashes triumphantly towards shore with her fist in the air, closed around a massive blue and gray shell. Once onshore, she proudly announces that she knows what it is — she recently learned that this type of shell holds a type of clam called a quahog.

Aiyana Monteiro holds a quahog she discovered on the beach at Burgess Point during the Onset Bay Center summer program.

According to Aiyana, this is just one of several things she has already learned in her first week and a half at the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Onset Bay summer program.

“I learned that hermit crabs don’t bite, and that there are no big fish to be scared of in the water,” she said. She said that kayaking and looking for shells have been her favorite activities, and added: “I learned that you don’t have to be afraid of everything in the ocean — which makes me more comfortable to swim.”

Aiyana is one of more than one hundred kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Wareham and Wareham CARE who will participate in the Coalition’s second summer of the Onset Bay summer program. This program provides four weeks of outdoor exploration and discovery that will form a central component of the developing Onset Bay Center.

With construction on the Onset Bathhouse paused for the summer, this year’s programming is based on the shores of preserved Coalition land at Burgess Point. The Coalition is also testing a new approach to programming this year, in which campers enjoy 45-minute sessions of different activities over half-days.

These kids are discovering the best of Onset’s waters and coasts through shoreline exploration, snorkeling, shellfishing, sailing lessons with the New Bedford Community Boating Center, kayaking with Nemasket Kayak, and swimming lessons with Gleason Family YMCA instructors and lifeguards.

For Jacob Dutton, age 9, the on-the-water parts of the program are his favorite so far.

Kids from Wareham CARE and the Wareham Boys and Girls Club on the beach at Burgess Point.

“The coolest part was when we got to kayak to Wickets Island, and how we’re learning what the different sails are called on the boats and what they look like,” Jacob says. “I think I’d like to learn how to sail on a bigger boat next, because it would be different and maybe harder.”

Malachi Coelho, 10, has also enjoyed kayaking and sailing– both of which he’s doing for the first time. But more than that, he says the best part so far has been the kids he’s doing these activities with: “It’s a good place to make new friends and for friendships to grow.”

This fall, the Coalition and builders from the Valle Group will return to Onset to fit the bathhouse with walls and flooring, and to complete the interior. We plan to officially open the Onset Bay Center to all for programming in Spring 2020.

Category: On the Land

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