The last month of July and the first month of August hosted the Clearwater’s Youth Empowerment Programs, Young Men and Young Women at the Helm. These programs are a great way for the Clearwater to bring new people into our fold. The energy that these programs and their participants bring to the boat is often unbelievable. The crew often sees students for just three hours during a typical education program, and then not again unless by chance. But during these programs participants are onboard for three whole days and gain control and agency in the running of the Clearwater deck each day. Watching their progression is inspiring each year. These programs are in their sixth and thirteenth years of programming, and each year is a learning experience for the crew and an opportunity for us to try something new and exciting.
These programs are an investment in the Hudson River and its watershed. Students come from throughout the Valley and gain a great deal of knowledge about the Hudson and the very real environmental issues that it faces. By training these young folks in watershed education, we help them become more active participants in their environments.
One exciting part of this year has been our collaboration with the Achievement First Charter Network. The Achievement First Charter Network has an extensive summer internship program, which sends students to a wide variety of summer programming each year. This year, four students participated in the Youth Empowerment programs, and then volunteered for a week this summer. The Achievement First students did an amazing job, and watching them grow in their deck skills, their environmental knowledge, and their ownership of the river and the boat has been really wonderful. We hope they will come back for another volunteer week next year!
This year we were able to get a great deal of wonderful pictures documenting the programs. View these at our Flickr account.