Saturday in the Bronx
This past Saturday, I joined a small crew at Rocking the Boat in the Bronx, an amazing organization that works with local teenagers and teaches them how to build boats. After a quick tour of their workshop, some of the kids joined us as we paddled their creations on the adjacent Bronx River and where, I believe, was the true power of the organization. Learning how to build boats teaches the kids craftmanship, team work, and those intangible skills that any focused pursuit can give to young people. Out on the river, the boats opened up whole new worlds to normally landlocked urbanites: water issues, ecology, wildlife, the environment, community context, social responsibility. The students at Rocking the Boat were born in the Bronx. Now they are studying the river ecology and restoring wetlands with their neighbors. They are camping in the Catskills and taking Outward Bound classes in the Sierra Nevada. They’re getting scholarships and going to college. A couple of oars can take you way past the Whitestone Bridge.