By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs
Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, along with numerous university and research partners, has been installing and testing remote sensing technology that captures data, audio and video of the island’s flora, fauna, weather and geology. One of the desired outcomes for these resources is to enable Boston Public School teachers to extend their students’ island expedition back into the classroom with technology, data and lesson plans that build upon and complement the on-island experiential learning experience.
One of these technology partnerships also ties directly into measuring the effects of sea level rise, a hot topic in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park and in the scientific community as a whole.
An interactive map, called Surging Seas, depicting future rising sea levels from climatecentral.org
To focus on this important issue and to highlight one of Thompson Island’s primary technology project partnerships, I’ve invited Communications Manager, Jaclyn Parks to be our Guest Blogger this month.
Nature & Technology are BFFs
by Jaclyn Parks, Communications Manager
Technology is usually thought to be the culprit for keeping children inside. However, on Thompson Island technology and nature are working together to get children outdoors and interested in science. A partnership with the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS Boston), Boston University and Northeastern University has helped us strengthen this synergy by collaborating on a remote camera-based erosion study.
Most of us are aware of the growing concerns about global climate change, the expected rise in sea levels that could occur during the remainder of this century and increasing rates of erosion. Since 1920 Boston’s sea level has risen approximately 10 inches, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). NOAA predicts Boston’s sea level will continue to rise as much as 6 feet by the end of this century. For more information about Boston’s sea level trends and projections visit the City of Boston’s climate webpage.
Remote camera technology used by the erosion study partnership on the north end of Thompson Island
UMASS Boston recently approached Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center to participate in a study to evaluate the use of low-power, low-cost networked smart cameras to study and manage coastal flooding. Thompson Island was chosen due to its close proximity to Boston and geologically dynamic shorelines. The Boston Harbor Islands are a unique geological formation called drumlins that formed from the recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last Ice Age, some 20,000 years ago.
The UMASS Boston/BU/Northeastern partnership has placed these smart cameras in areas of known erosion and beach movement to help clarify what exactly is causing rapid erosion and which weather types affect tide movements the most.
Beach movement, as deposition, on the east side of Thompson Island?
Thompson Island instructors are leveraging this study by incorporating components into our geology curricula. Students will use camera footage to learn about erosion, climate change, tidal movements, deposition and much more.
According to Alex Chu, program director for curriculum programs, “We will be using this scientific data to develop lesson plans that provide classroom-based access to island data and video that complement field-based science expeditions. Remote access to data will enable Thompson Island to expand our capabilities to deliver technology-based aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curricula to schools. It also allows us to begin to deliver integrated scientific/technology field and research work that connects to next generation science standards, while offering students a realistic taste of how a future career in science might appeal to them.”
To view live footage from these erosion cameras visit www.cesn.org/live/thompson.php
We suggest you read the following abstracts if you’re interested in learning more about Boston’s coastal history, erosion and rising sea levels!
Effects of Rising Sea Level on the Boston Harbor by Duncan FitzGerald Boston University Department of Earth Sciences and Peter Rosen, Northeastern University Department of Geology
Drowned Drumlins, Battered Bluff, and Salt Marsh Sediments – Boston Harbor Through Time by Peter Rosen, Northeastern University Department of Earth and Environmental Science and Carol Wilson, Boston Universitiy Coastal Geomorphology
Mapping and Modeling Sea Level Rise by Ellen Douglas, University of Massachusetts Boston Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences
Effects of Natural and Anthropogenic Forces on the Geophysical Processes in Boston Harbor by Dr. Zoe Hughes, Boston University Department of Earth Sciences
By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs
On April 11th, more than 500 Bostonians gathered at the Seaport Hotel to support Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center at the organization’s Annual Gala. The result was the most successful Gala in TIOBEC history, raising more than $575,000. The generosity of the participants was both overwhelming and humbling and I thank each and every guest for their support.
Channel 5's Randy Price, along with Principal Jeff Slater and students from the Curley K-8 school, onstage at the Gala
Emceed by Randy Price from WCVB TV Channel 5 Eye-Opener News, the evening consisted of a cocktail reception and silent auction, an inspirational video of students participating in programs on Thompson Island, remarks of welcome and thanks by TIOBEC President Arthur Pearson and a group initiative that I led (typically done by students on the island) that had the entire room on their feet and engaged.
Gala guests enjoy the interactive group activity led by VP Programs, Paul Lamoureux
Following a tasty dinner, there was a lively and extremely successful auction orchestrated by the entertaining Paul Zekos; moving remarks about perseverance and courage by North Star Award recipient Ryan Enright of Equity Office; and closing remarks by Chairman of the Board, Sandy McGinnes. Throughout the evening, current students and young alumni of Thompson Island Outward Bound programs circulated through the rooms, acting as ambassadors and regaling guests with stories of their experiences with Thompson Island and the transformative aspects of our programs.
Student ambassadors share Thompson Island stories with Gala guests
All of this, however, was the backdrop to the featured speaker of the evening, Jeff Slater, the Principal of the Curley K-8 School in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Principal Slater was joined on stage by three of his 7th grade students who had participated in Connections programs on Thompson Island. Rather than try to summarize Principal Slater’s remarks, I have included them here in their entirety. I send my thanks to Principal Slater for agreeing to speak at the Gala and for so eloquently expressing the value of our programs to the assembled guests.
“My name is Jeff Slater and I’m the Principal at the Curley K-8 School. The Curley is a Boston Public School in Jamaica Plain with a strong academic program, a dedicated faculty and staff, an engaged parent community, and some of the best kids in the world! Our educational philosophy is about the development of the “whole child.” As the school leader, I believe in the balance between students’ academic success and the development of their social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. To that end, we look to partner with organizations that help us support that vision. For me, Thompson Island has been a critical partner in helping us meet those needs for our students.
Tonight’s theme is “Discovery of the Heart, Body and Mind.” Through our partnership with Thompson Island, I have had the unique experience of seeing first-hand how our students at the Curley are directly impacted in those areas. I see the Connections program as so important to our school that I have consistently invested the time to stay on the island during the entire 3 days and 2 nights. Spending this out-of-school time is a special experience for me as I watch the students flourish in a supportive learning environment that is completely new to most of them. Many students have never been on a boat or an island before. Most have very little exposure to the ocean, despite living so close to it. All are amazed at how close this “island wilderness” is to Boston when they gaze back at the nearby skyline.
One of the things I treasure most about our visits to Thompson Island is the opportunity it provides our students from diverse backgrounds to get to know each other in ways they otherwise would not. Students from various cultural backgrounds, English Language Learners, students with special needs – they all have the opportunity to learn together and participate in activities that help them to open their hearts and support each other in a unique learning environment. They learn the power of working together as a team and the importance of effective communication, mutual respect and compassion. I have the distinct pleasure of seeing how that translates back into the relationships that continue to grow and blossom when students return to the school.
Health and wellness is a key priority for us at the Curley. We strive to make sure that our students’ bodies grow as strong as their minds. Thompson Island helps us to support our work in this area by providing our students with physical challenges both individually and as a team. Also, students walk everywhere on the island and are constantly on the move between one learning environment and another. Whether challenging themselves on a ropes course or traversing the salt marsh, students are always active and engaged.
The development of our students’ minds is also a critical component of our experience with Thompson Island. Every year, their curricular specialists work with our teachers and staff to continually refine the academic components of the programming for our students. The process begins in our classrooms at the Curley, where the groundwork is laid for the lessons our students will be engaged in on the island. Careful effort is made to connect the learning on the island with the school’s Science curriculum. Hands-on activities help make the learning real for our students. What better place to learn about ecosystems than on an island with diverse habitats of beach, meadow, forest and marsh? How better to discover the interrelationships of organisms than through seeing them and touching them on an island filled with birds, fish, insects and small mammals…..including the bones they recover from Owl pellets in the Lab!
The amazing partnership that we have with Thompson Island provides our students with numerous benefits and the impact of student learning on the island lasts far beyond their actual visit. The relationships that are developed help to improve our school climate and culture. The physical activities contribute to our students’ success both on and off the playing field. And, the experiential learning helps to broaden our students’ thinking about the world they live in.
I am extremely grateful for the support that Thompson Island gives us in helping to meet the needs of our students. And, with your support, I look forward to continuing to grow and deepen our relationship as we work together to develop the hearts, bodies and minds of Boston’s students. Thank you.”
A 7th grade student from the Curley K-8 school steals the show while onstage at the Gala
The Gala was yet another reminder of the impact of Thompson Island programs and I’m truly thankful for the amazing generosity of all those attending the event. I’m extremely proud and grateful to be part of an organization that inspires such support from the community.
I also want to thank the students, their families, and other friends of Thompson Island who volunteered at the Gala. We couldn’t have done it without you. But mostly, I want to thank Principal Jeff Slater who so clearly demonstrated his passion for the value and impact of the Thompson Island experience.
Teachers from the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School in Dorchester attend the Gala to show their support
By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs
On March 5th, donors and trustees visited the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester to learn how Connections has impacted the teachers and students who have participated in the program. The “Lilla G.” is located within the Circle of Promise, an area in Boston designated as in need of extra support by the Mayor and the Superintendent. Sixth grade math teacher Meghan McGoldrick and several of her students shared highlights of their learning experiences on Thompson Island.
Students, Teachers, Donors and Staff interact in Meghan McGoldrick’s classroom
Meghan kicked off the discussion by talking about the school’s introduction to Thompson Island through the one-day Harbor Connections program in 2010. At that time, her sixth grade students visited Spectacle Island on a cultural history lesson with Thompson Island instructors and National Park Rangers. The memorable expedition followed preparatory classroom sessions about the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, chart making and interactive math lessons that attempted to determine how long it would take to get to Spectacle on the ferry (based upon distance, time and speed).
Math teacher Meghan McGoldrick (center) discussing the benefits of the Thompson Island experience
Meghan’s enthusiasm inspired other teachers within her school to participate in Harbor Connections trips as well. Meghan then began building the expedition into her 2011 curriculum to extend the impact of the classroom and field-based lessons.
It was at this point, based upon the clear commitment to Harbor Connections from both teachers and school administration, that Thompson Island invited the school to join the coveted Environmental Connections program. Meghan was effusive as she described her elation at the selection of her 6th graders to come to Thompson Island for 3 days and 2 nights in the spring of 2012. She immediately began coordinating efforts with Thompson Island staff and other Lilla G. teachers, particularly her 6th grade humanities teacher partner, Jessica Lider.
Environmental Connections Students exploring the Salt Marsh on Thompson Island
In preparation for the expedition, the teachers integrated reading, science and math curriculum into their lessons that would be directly relevant to their time on Thompson Island. This was then followed up by classroom visits from Thompson Island and National Park staff with additional relevant preparatory lessons, to insure an impactful and memorable 3 days and 2 nights on Thompson Island. Meghan was also quick to point out that the myriad benefits of participating in Environmental Connections included social-emotional skills, as well as academics.
Respect, communication and collaboration were the “order of the day” on Thompson Island and reinforced school values according to Meghan. Visible outside of Meghan’s classroom were the five team flags created by the students on Thompson Island during the 6th graders spring expedition. Each flag colorfully depicted all of the positive behaviors and values that group members wanted in their crew. Also listed were behaviors that group members did not want in their crew, such as put-downs, violence, and disrespect. Group members then each signed their flags as they would a contract, indicative of their intent to embody its positive values. This concept of a full “value contract” helped guide the students during their time on Thompson Island. Now, however, these values returned to the school and were observed each day as everyone gathered in the lobby for morning meeting. These values became part of the inspiration for the newly developed Lilla G. Academy Creed! According to Meghan, the Thompson Island experience has clearly had a positive impact on school culture.
Lilla G. Frederick crew (Los Lobos) with their team value flag (now hung in the Academy Lobby!)
After Meghan finished dazzling the guests, the students each relayed their most memorable experiences from the island expedition, accompanied by island photos projected onto the classroom screen. The students were articulate, passionate and humorous. Highlights included their joy for exploring and identifying creatures in the salt marsh; reconstructing skeletons of small mammals from Owl pellets; working with peers and challenging themselves on the island’s ropes courses; feeling like they were in college spending overnights in dorms; learning map skills and orienting themselves throughout the island; or simply being immersed in nature in beaches, meadows and forests. Oh, and of course, they had to gush over “how awesome the food is on Thompson Island!”
Environmental Connections students explore the coastal ecosystems under the watch of a National Park Ranger
After a question and answer session, students became ambassadors and led tours of the fairly new and impressive school complex.
Lilla G. Frederick 7th grade students, who were the highlight of the school visit, accompany a generous donor
Hosting the Thompson Island board of trustees meeting in Meghan’s classroom was the perfect way to end the day, and further reinforced the importance of our partnership with Boston schools in need of community support. Meghan and Jessica reiterated the importance of the Connections program to their school, to them personally as “holistic educators” and most importantly to the students they so passionately serve. Once again, the teachers discussed what a meaningful program Environmental Connections is and the benefits to academics and social-emotional learning, as well as to school culture. They explained that now, after their first double-overnight experience on the island, they have woven preparatory lessons based upon the forthcoming spring expedition even more tightly into their classroom lessons in humanities, math and science. But, perhaps even more importantly, they saw the benefits of the program in opening students up to a world of possibilities, whether as a scientist or as someone who just wants more out of themselves and out of life. According to the teachers, a trip to Thompson Island in the Connections program is almost magical in the way that it stimulates a student’s heart, mind and body.
Lilla G. Frederick 6th grade Students on their last day on Thompson Island last spring
By: Paul Lamoureux, Vice President of Programs
During the frigid winter months our development department is busy preparing for the annual gala and other major donor events, our operation staff is overhauling and preparing the island for an onslaught of visitors, our sales staff is busy signing and re-signing events, conferences and programs clients, our youth programs staff is interviewing and hiring new and returning staff while preparing to serve 6,680 students in 2013, and our accounting staff is closing the books on 2012 and ensuring continued financial health.
While all of this planning activity is occurring, our Thompson Island Outward Bound Professional (OBP) staff is actually out in the field delivering high-value programs to corporate clients. Cutting edge, customized Outward Bound Professional programs are designed to enhance effectiveness for individuals, groups and teams… and can be delivered throughout the year in a wide variety of locations!
To honor the flexibility and professionalism of our OBP programs and staff, I’ve invited OBP Director, Ellen Harris to be our Guest Blogger:
Place your bets on Outward Bound Professional
by Ellen Harris
Have you ever thought about playing “poker” with your colleagues and instead of winning or losing, gaining insight about different cultures? In January, Outward Bound Professional worked with 16 leaders from 6 different countries who are in a Leadership Development program for a global company that’s an industry leader in healthcare.
The challenge? Well, we all know the changing face of healthcare makes doing business-as-usual obsolete, so how can leadership stay ahead of the changes?
Combined with topics on Innovation, Outward Bound Professional facilitators placed colleagues in fun and sometimes humorous situations to experience and understand how they and each other think! Through different activities, discussions included how to most effectively use resources, identify smart strategies, appreciate the impact of effective (or ineffective) communication, and determine when a team is in sync.
The result? Helping colleagues become aware of what they do best, and how to keep doing that together!
Thompson Island Outward Bound Professional offers winning strategies for positive and lasting change in the workplace throughout the year.
Ellen Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-830-5114.
December 20, 2012
By: Paul Lamoureux, Vice President of Programs
The close of the calendar year always prompts reflections on aspirations and accomplishments. Here are some exciting highlights of Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center’s (TIOBEC) commitment to support Boston youth and those most at risk and most in need.
In 2012, TIOBEC increased the total number of Boston Public Schools (BPS) served to 35 and the number of BPS students served to 4,025. This represented an increase from 3,544 BPS students in 2011 and – two thirds of the total number of youth (6,099) served by our programs this year.
TIOBEC partnered with nine new BPS schools in 2012 including the Mather Elementary, Holland Elementary and Roger Clapp Innovation School from Dorchester, the Dearborn Middle and Tobin K-8 from Roxbury, the Eliot School from the North end, the Edwards School from Charlestown , as well as East Boston High School and the Mario Umana Middle School Academy from East Boston.
Our Summer Connections program implemented a new program structure that increased the dedicated academic time and effectively integrated leadership/character building opportunities with classroom time and field work. TIOBEC also developed new lesson plans incorporating American Reading Company’s English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum that focused on ecosystem studies and tied it to Thompson Island’s meadow, coastline, salt marsh, forest habitats.
New Voyager math curriculum was also added to the program and, for the third consecutive year, TIOBEC has significantly outperformed statewide averages for student improvement in Math, ELA, Initiative, Engagement in Learning, Communication Skills and Relations with Adults!
Based upon feedback from schools, partners and staff, the Environmental Connections program was extended from 2 days/1 overnight to 3-days/2-nights, significantly extending the amount of place-based, experiential learning time for students. And, after demonstrating a strong commitment to experiential learning and to Thompson Island by school administrators and teachers, Roosevelt K-8 School from Hyde Park was selected and added as a new participating school in the Environmental Connections program.
Thompson Island and the Boston Green Academy High School partnered to pilot a field science-based, experiential learning program for the school’s AP and Honors science students. The pilot program includes fall day trips and a multi-day/overnight spring expedition where students are immersed in all of Thompson Island’s ecosystems and geologic features. Curriculum developed in partnership with Boston Green Academy science teachers will be utilized throughout other models of the Connections Program as well as a platform for high school programs.
More than 200 High School and Middle School Students from Boston communities came to the Island on group scholarships as part of 2 day/overnight peer leadership programs. Students from the Roslindale Community Center, Trinity Education for Excellence Programs (TEEP), Fenway High School and Boston Community Leadership Academy were among the 2012 group scholarship recipients, many of whom reside in the same neighborhoods as our school Connections partners.
In 2012, TIOBEC’s family engagement efforts expanded as we hosted numerous family days on Thompson Island for family members to come on the ferry, tour the island and facilities and get a feel for the program. In addition, we hosted two large graduation ceremonies where we provided additional busses to transport hundreds of family members to our dock. We also expanded public access to include both Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day and encouraged all students to bring family members to Thompson Island on weekends.
On November 12, the Boston Globe published a fantastic editorial that contended that Thompson Island provided “A new way to excel on MCAS.” The article ended with the assertion that “More schools should partner with the Thompson Island education center. Most importantly, schools around Boston should look to the work on the island as an example of how teaching to the test can be done effectively.”
The editorial was followed up by a Letter to the Editor on November 17 that was entitled “’Living lab of Discovery’ has grown through collaboration.” The letter underscored the commitment of Superintendent Carol R. Johnson, and the entire BPS, in efforts to grow their partnership with TIOBEC.
It is fitting that I end this year’s blog with a tribute to our wonderful and committed staff. Our extremely hardworking and dedicated staff embodied passion and professionalism throughout the entire year. Even during the busiest and most hectic times – personnel across departments worked collegially, communicated openly, while demonstrating mutual respect and a common focus.
Invested trustees and advisors have also played a major role in this year’s success and have contributed across all aspects of the organization. Our corporate volunteer s and donor community have been incredibly generous and the youth of Boston (and beyond) are the recipients of all this hard work and generosity.
As we enter into the Holiday Season, I want to thank each and every member of the Thompson Island family for their commitment and contributions to our many achievements in 2012 and wish you health and happiness in the New Year.
October 15, 2012
By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President of Programs
The annual 4k trail run on Thompson Island was a perfect, sunny September day with temperatures in the low 60s. More than 900 runners and 54 corporate teams competed in this year’s event, the largest ever! Over $100,000 was raised to help support our youth programs for those most at risk and underserved in the Boston area. I was honored to kick off the event by thanking the participants and setting the context for the long history of hands-on learning on Thompson Island as they traversed it from end to end. As the gun went off and the race started, throngs of runners ran by my position near the starting line in an awesome tidal wave of humanity. I was truly humbled by the turnout of so many people who have joined our community to make a difference every day!
I invited one of the many corporate teams to share their experience as this month’s guest blogger.
Photo credit: Jon Fischer Photography
Guest blog post by Pamela Tapia
of Hub Pen
For the third year, employees of Braintree, Massachusetts-based Hub Pen Company (UPIC: HUBPEN) teamed up with Hanson, Massachusetts’s Walker-Clay (UPIC: WALKCLAY) to participate in the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center’s 12th Annual 4k Trail Run.
On September 20, 902 runners, up from 728 in 2011, competed in a four-kilometer cross-country style run through the beautiful 204 acres of Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area.
The event raised more than $100,000 to benefit Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center’s youth programs. Serving the youth of Greater Boston since 1988, the center provides both environmental and educational programs that instill teamwork, self-confidence and compassion, and encourage learning by doing.
Hub Pen customer service rep Kerrie Hynes was a first-time runner this year. “We always enjoy spending time with the people from Walker-Clay and I knew Bill Clay is very involved with Outward Bound, but I had no idea just how many people would be there for the event. It was amazing.”
Aside from the run itself, other high points of the event were the Boston Harbor Cruise to and from the island, a barbecue with live music and local brews from Harpoon Brewery. Meghan Dann of Hub Pen’s art department added, “It was my first 4K too and it was a great experience; great energy, great people. We are definitely looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Learn more about the Thompson Island trail run here.
September 12, 2012
By: Paul Lamoureux, Vice President of Programs
On July 27th, we hosted the season’s first Summer Connections graduation event at the Island Pavilion and more than 100 family members came to the island to be part of the student’s final day. 75 rising 4th grade, 6th grade and 7th grade students from the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury were celebrated by teachers, staff and families.
On August 31st, in a déjà vu-like day, this spectacle was repeated when 75 rising 4th grade students from the Mather, Marshall and Holland elementary schools in Dorchester celebrated their graduation from Summer Connections. Again, more than 100 family members came to the island on the Motor Vessel Outward Bound to join in the festivities.
After spending five weeks on the island, the students had so much to share with their families. Graduation day ceremonies included: students leading family members on tours of classrooms, high ropes and field science course sites; student presentations of class and individual projects; refreshing food and beverages in the Pavilion event site; playing fields and beach volleyball courts filled with Frisbees, balls and laughter; and an awesome “big screen” slideshow filled with photos and video of the student’s summer experience. To get an even better glimpse of the student’s summer experience, watch the video below.
Students truly experienced all that Thompson Island has to offer and, whether in the classroom or the lab, the salt marshes or the meadows, the high ropes or the low ropes, the beaches or the forests, students traversed the entire island. What was truly impressive was the intentionality with which each activity achieved a desired academic or enrichment outcome, all the while enabling the students to simply enjoy and appreciate their beautiful natural surroundings.
Following the graduation slide show, students were then recognized individually and honored by their Boston Public School (BPS) teachers. They then received graduation certificates from Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, and accepted junior ranger badges from the National Park Service. The day culminated with the students citing the junior ranger “pledge” which focused on appreciating, preserving and protecting natural places!
Due to the intentional integration of academics and enrichment activities, and through the finely honed partnership of BPS teachers, Thompson Island staff and National Park Service Rangers, it is our strong belief that we achieved the program goal of “reducing summer learning loss” for these students and we also positioned them for academic gains in the upcoming school year. Early results from pre- and post-testing of students in the Voyager math curriculum indicate statistically significant gains in math proficiency!
Perhaps we have planted the seeds for some of these students that a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) is not farfetched at all! Now that they have spent a summer doing actual field science and connecting field work to Math and English Language Arts, a STEM career may now be conceivable.
Although this year’s academic sessions were the best planned and executed yet for Summer Connections, undoubtedly many of the students fondest memories will come from experiences in the enrichment activities. Without fail, climbing the Alpine Tower or swinging on the Giant Swing creates indelible memories, especially if students have overcome significant fears to participate. Other experiences such as catching minnows or crabs in the salt marsh or netting insects of all varieties in the meadow, elicits powerful memories as well.
However, at the end of the day, the bonds created among students and between students and teachers, rangers and Thompson Island staff was extraordinary. The importance of strong peer-to-peer and youth-to-adult relationships cannot be overstated and I thank each and every member of the Summer Connections team for their dedication to these young people and for delivering such an impressive program this year.
And while it is the end of the summer, it is the beginning of a new school year. And, after five weeks in the beautiful natural setting of Thompson Island, being prepared by teachers, instructors and rangers for a new school year, I’m sure that 150 students from the Orchard Gardens, Mather, Marshall and Holland schools will be well positioned for success. They will undoubtedly also bring back some of the Thompson Island experience to their schools and, with rekindled confidence and leadership skills, may continue to grow and effect change within their school cultures. I wish them all the best in the upcoming school year and beyond!