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B-SAFE Week 6: Gone Camping!

A group of campers and staff enjoying the overnight, and is that Tim Crellin dropping in from sabbatical?

A group of campers and staff enjoying the overnight, and is that Tim Crellin dropping in from sabbatical?

Four days and three nights at the Barbara C. Harris Camp for 160 B-SAFE participant means all fun, all the time!  The food and sun were plentiful as youth got to spend more time with friends from their sites as well as making new friends with kids from other sites around Boston.  Mornings included activities such as low and high ropes, friendship bracelets, sports, and canoe dodgeball.  Afternoons included archery, swimming, boating, and chill-axing in the cabins.  Evenings found everyone dancing to a great soundtrack, showing off their talents, and participating in an Olympics of field games.  Closing campfires offered reflections on the life of Barbara C. Harris, the amazing-ness of each young person, and the challenge of how to act—how to give back—in response to all we have received from the summer.  The pictures tell the story best.



A patch from the summer quilt project at B-SAFE @ St. Stephen's LEARN (elementary school program.)

A patch from the summer quilt project at B-SAFE @ St. Stephen's LEARN (elementary school program.)

The final week of B-SAFE arrived very quickly; many people repeatedly said they could not believe the end was already here! And this feeling was not just due to the slightly shortened program (due to the incredible number of snow days during the winter and the extension of the school year). With the packed schedule, the pace of activity, and the amount of excitement, time really flew by. On Thursday of this week, all sites had closing ceremonies in which youth presented their learnings and received awards for their participation and accomplishments. At B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s LEARN, for example, students displayed the quilts they made in Word that included poems about their understanding of some of the values discussed over the course of the summer. Findings about the amount of trash the program produced—and how much we could reduce that amount through composting—was part of the presentation from Numbers Club.

And then the last field trips of the summer… B-SAFE again expresses gratitude to all the partners and volunteers who helped to provide healthy meals and snacks to all the participants and for planning such excellent full day adventures:

  • Trinity, Concord partnered with B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s LEARN and St. Stephen’s YLC bringing everyone to Crane’s Beach for a glorious day of splashing and sand castles.
  • All Saints, Brookline brought B-SAFE @ St. Augustine & St. Martin to Walden Pond for hiking, nature exploration, and a bit of learning about Henry David Thoreau.
  • St. Paul’s, Natick teamed up with B-SAFE @ St. Mark’s for a great day of activities and a bit of splashing at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.
  • St. Michael’s, Holliston partnered with B-SAFE @ Epiphany putting on a day of Olympics and fun rotations at Hopkinton State Park.
  • At B-SAFE @ Holy Spirit, volunteers from the Holy Spirit congregation and past week partners came every day to support staff in preparing and serving lunch. Thanks so much to St. John’s, Westwood; Church of the Advent, Medfield; Grace, Norwood for giving even more of your time and energy.  The youth and the staff of the site had a fabulous day at Nantasket Beach on Friday.
  • St. John’s, Beverly Farms joined B-SAFE @ St. Luke’s/San Lucas for the first time this summer, providing delicious meals and sponsoring a great day on Friday at their congregation which is just a few minutes walk from the beach where youth got to splash and play as they closed out a fabulous summer!

Week 5: The Bishop’s Visit. . .We’re So Proud of B-SAFE!

More to come on all the wonderful things that happened during Week 5, but in the meantime, I wanted to post this link to a short video excerpt from Bishop Shaw’s visit to three of the B-SAFE sites which happened early in the week. . . check it out, send it along, it says it all!

B-SAFE Week 4: More Rain, What?

Volunteers from St. Paul's Newburyport brave the rain to put on a Friday picnic!

Volunteers from St. Paul's Newburyport brave the rain to put on a Friday picnic!

Despite rain a few times during the week, including on Friday for some field trips, our B-SAFE Program continued with sunny dispositions and lots of bright faces.

 We are again grateful to our partner churches for providing such delicious and nutritious lunches, reading with youth during DEAR time, and planning and carrying out such fabulous field trips.

 Epiphany, Winchester partnered with BOTH B-SAFE@ St. Stephen’s LEARN and B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s YLC (a hat trick, since they partnered earlier in the summer for a week with St. Luke’s/San Lucas!) They brought EVERYONE from St. Stephen’s to the Ecotarium in Worcester where there was much learning about the environment, science, climate change. . .the highlight was the polar bear. 

 St. Stephen’s, Cohasset and St. Luke’s Sciuate partnered with B-SAFE @ St. Augustine & St. Martin’s, bringing meals to the youth and then the youth to Darby Farm (a big hit) and a lighthouse in Scituate.  Tours of the lighthouse were blown and rained out, but fun was had by all nevertheless.

 St. Mark’s, Burlington and the MIT Chaplaincy each provided two days of lunches to B-SAFE @ St. Mark’s and then the site had some fun at Hopkinton State Park with hikes, games, crafts, and a bit of splashing around.

 St. Mary’s, Newton Lower Falls and St. Paul’s Newton Highlands teamed up to feed the participants at B-SAFE @ Epiphany.  St. Mary’s sponsored a field trip to the Peabody Essex Museum and Salem Willows, with lots of exploration of recycled material art followed by a cookout.

 Church of the Holy Spirit Mattapn partnered with B-SAFE @ Holy Spirit (which they host! ), serving up delectable treats throughout the week and then helping to send the site off to Farrington Memorial for the Friday field trip (with animals, crafts, games, and more).

 Good Shepherd in Reading prepared yummy food all week for the youth at B-SAFE @ St. Luke’s/San Lucas and then St. Paul’s in Newburyport sponsored a great day of fun, overcoming rain in adventurous and remarkable ways.  The morning began with two activities—learning about colonial games and sheep shearing at Coffin House AND learning about boat building at a local shop followed by a cookout in the pouring rain at Mosley Woods (we were undeterred!) and finally games of all sorts in a local gym.

 THANKS to everyone for  all your help for weaving sunshine out of the rain and making the fourth week of B-SAFE a success!

B-SAFE Teen CIT Basketball Tournament: Time to Play!

A B-SAFE staff team at the annual basketball tournament.

A B-SAFE staff team at the annual basketball tournament.

This past Tuesday at 5:00 pm at our B-SAFE @ Epiphany site in Dorchester, more than 120 people (including 75 teens) turned out for B-SAFE’s third annual basketball tournament.  Each of our seven B-SAFE sites assembled a team; every team had to be co-ed and primarily made up of teen players (one adult staff could be on the court at any time).  Once everyone had consumed the 25 large pizzas (leading one teen to say at the end, “I didn’t have much playing time, I ate too much!”), everyone moved to Epiphany’s beautiful and huge gymnasium.   Players wore their site colors, laced up their high-tops, and hit the courts while cheering supporters waved signs and chanted cheers.  Children of staff ran around the side lines as teams heard the guidelines for the tournament:  Have fun! Friendly competition! Positive language!  Referee’s calls are final!  Then the first tip-off of the single elimination tournament took place and the games began.

 In the first round, home team Epiphany played St. Mark’s, winning by a score of 24-16.

 St. Stephen’s (a combined team of players from LEARN and YLC) played Holy Spirit, with St Stephen’s overwhelming Holy Spirit with a score of 26-14

 By the second round even the spectators were working up a sweat!  St. Augustine/St. Martin (Roxbury) played St. Lukes (Chelsea—travelling in by yellow school bus!) beating them by a score of 24-20

Epiphany returned to play St. Stephen’s, winning 28-26 and narrowly eliminating last year’s champion.

 As they waited for this summer’s championship game to begin, teams already eliminated mingled and exchanged stories of their work in B-SAFE (while catching some fresh air and footballs on the field behind the gym). Then, Epiphany played St. Augustine/St. Martin into an exciting overtime with St. A&M finally rising victorious with a score of 34-30 to claim the 2009 title of B-SAFE basketball champs.

 High fives were exchanged, the building was cleaned and by 9:00pm everyone went home for showers and sleep, since all had to report back to work at 8:00 am the next morning fresh and ready to regale the kids with tales of the tournament.

B-SAFE Week 3: Undeterred by Rain!


B-SAFE @ St. Mark's arrives at Grace Church in Newton.

B-SAFE @ St. Mark's arrives at Grace Church in Newton.

Week three of B-SAFE continued the activities, field trips, and relationship building that are helping us achieve our goals of feeling safe, feeling big, and feeling connected.

Torrential  rains were predicted on Thursday night and the morning of our Friday field trips.  Partner church volunteers and B-SAFE staff conferred and created amazing alternative plans.  When dawn (sort of) broke on the 24th, some sites gambled on plan A, others went with plan B.  EVERYONE had a phenomenal time on their adventures and all worked out without a hitch (minus a few bus snafus, like B-SAFE @ Epiphany’s  second bus breaking down 2 minutes into their return ride and having to cram everyone on one bus, with the excellent help of Cambridge’s finest police escort!)

 We are grateful to the following partners for their work to provide tasty lunches and extremely fun and educational field trips!

 St. John the Evangelist, Hingham worked with B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s LEARN & YLC to provide lunches for two days and then sponsored the Friday field trip for LEARN, including games and activities and lunch at their church followed by explorations and learning at Weir Farm.

 Emmanuel Church, Boston—a new partner!—provided two days of lunches for B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s LEARN and YLC (160 hungry people each day) and led the optional worship experience on Wednesday for about 25 elementary schoolers.  On Friday, St. Stephen’s YLC opted to stay on site (Farrington Memorial was flooded) and had a  talent show (including stepping, skits, and music), crafts, baking and other choices that one YLC-er described as “the best day ever!”

 St. Peter’s, Weston sponsored a week of lunches for St. Augustine & St. Martin along with a fun Friday at their congregation, including a morning matinee of “Night at the Museum,” followed by a delicious lunch of homemade mac and cheese and made-from-scratch-chicken tenders, and then an afternoon of “B Plan” activities, including bingo, board games, and basketball.

 Grace Church, Newton worked with B-SAFE @ St. Mark’s in Dorchester making meals and then sponsoring a Friday trip to Drumlin Farm, where youth got to explore barns with pigs, goats, and chickens (not to mention seeing the foxes!), and then a  barbecue back at Grace with an afternoon of activities including bracelet making, African drumming, facepainting, games, and more.

 Christ Church, Cambridge partnered with B-SAFE @ Epiphany and implemented a fabulous rain plan including a private screening at the Belmont movie theater of Wall-E along with a pizza lunch in Cambridge at their church, games, and ice cream sundaes.

 St. Michael’s, Milton and Our Saviour, Milton worked together to provide a week of delicious lunches for B-SAFE @ Holy Spirit and a Friday filled with bowling, games, and other activities that was super fun. Check out their blog post at

 St. Andrew’s, Marblehead worked with B-SAFE @ St. Luke’s/San Lucas to feed everyone at the site, led an optional worship focused on creation and care for the environment, and a Friday trip that included  rotations of games, arts and crafts, puzzles, relay races, and friendship bracelets.  This last activity was particularly appropriate as the youth had spent the whole week getting to know the St. Andrew’s volunteers and were able to thank them each by name without reminders or prompting during the final lunch.  Read more about their week in their parish newsletter at

 Thanks to everyone who made the third week of our program such a successful and fun time!  It is hard to believe the summer is more than half over!

B-SAFE Reflection: Bridging the Digitial Divide


Enjoying tech class at B-SAFE @ St. Stephen's!

Enjoying tech class at B-SAFE @ St. Stephen's!

At six of our seven sites, B-SAFE participants are able to spend 2 hours a week learning with talented technology teachers and creating fabulous art, graphs, and pictures.  It is a given that in today’s society and workplaces, being computer and technology literate is essential.  However, in many of the Boston Public Schools attended by B-SAFE participants, there are not computers for students to use in the classrooms, and they may have access to the computer centers in their schools for one hour a week for one-third of the year.  Like other subjects such as art, music, and physical education, technology is sometimes considered a non-essential extra.

 The Boston Indicators Project of the Boston Foundation reported the following information (*):

  • From 2001 to 2004, the proportion of people age 3 and older using the Internet increased from 61% to 65% among whites, from 41% to 46% among blacks, from 33% to 37% among Latinos, and held  constant at 63% among Asian-Americans.
  • One quarter of whites lived in a household with a broadband connection compared to 14% of blacks, 13% of Latinos, and 34% of Asian-Americans.
  • Not quite one-third of families with incomes under $15,000 were Internet users, and only 8% had a broadband connection at home—while 83% of families with incomes above $75,000 used the Internet, and 45% had a broadband connection at home.
  • Nearly 16% of people without a high school diploma were Internet users and only 6% had broadband at home. By comparison, 85% of those with a Bachelor’s degree used the Internet, and 35% had a broadband connection.

 At B-SAFE, we have internet access and state of the art computers in all our Boston sites.  At B-SAFE @ St. Marks, participants surveyed their peers and created cool bar and line graphs and pie charts to display the information.  At B-SAFE @ St. Stephen’s YLC, middle schoolers captured various images and quotes from the internet to create their own posters about some of the values we are discussing, including peace, community and ubuntu.  At other sites, participants are using PhotoShop and other programs to create slideshows and short videos.  Many of the technology projects are being linked with what is being learned in our Art or Word specialties as well.  Even the youngest group at B-SAFE @ Holy Spirit is being exposed to Microsoft Excel and is learning how to make graphs.

As one of the youth said upon exiting the tech center at St. Stephen’s, following a class using the various fonts and backgrounds of Microsoft Word, “Wow! I never knew how to do this before.”

*Source:  As noted in this report:  These statistics may have changed over the past few years but the information is no longer being tracked by the Census Department so it is hard to know what the real state of the digital divide is now.