Wareham kids sail, swim, kayak and explore with the Buzzards Bay Coalition

By Meghan Neely | Jul 26, 2018
Photo by: Claudia Geib Instructor Hanna Hausleden sails around Onset Bay with Elliana Berriault, Alexis Kennedy, Kim Morissy and Maddy Spencer.

Wareham kids are out and about on Onset Bay this summer enjoying a variety of expanded water programs hosted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Each session includes hands-on lessons in sailing, swimming, kayaking and coastal ecology for kids ages 8 to 12.

"They've been absolutely loving it," said Outdoor Exploration Manager Rebecca Vasa.

These programs precedes the nonprofit's $5.3 million plans to rebuild the Onset Bathhouse in September, transforming the dilapidated structure into a two-story recreational hub which would house future programs as well as equipment.

The coalition will be covering the entire cost of the rebuild through grants and private donations. Once completed, the bathhouse will be known as the Onset Bay Center.

The coalition signed a 99-year lease with the town for the property back in 2017.

According to Coalition President Mark Rasmussen, the goal of the Onset summer programs is to get kids falling in love with the water.

"We want them to learn the basics," Rasmussen said. "Onset Bay is the perfect location for that."

In addition to the bathhouse, the coalition also plans to renovate Wickets Island into an ecological classroom, removing invasive plants and installing a floating dock.

To make their summer programs possible, the Coalition has also teamed up with a variety of local organizations.

The Gleason Family YMCA teaches ocean swim lessons on the beach and the Community Boating Center in New Bedford provides sailing instruction.

Kayaks are loaned from Nemasket Kayak and the kids involved in the programs come from organizations such as the Wareham Boys & Girls Club and Wareham Public Schools CARE Program.

"I really can't say enough about our partners," said Vasa. "They've been wonderful."

Vasa handles lessons in coastal ecology along with other coalition volunteers, helping kids to identify sea creatures and journal their findings.

"I think these programs deserve to be a staple in Onset," said Supervisor Michele Letourneau. "How many kids ever learn how to sail? It's an experience they won't get anywhere else."

The Onset summer programs will continue to run until Aug. 17 with construction on the bathhouse following Labor Day.

Instructor Mitchell Spell watches Amiah Bryant, Harley Rudnicki and Destiny Arroyo as they swim in Onset Bay. (Photo by: Claudia Geib)
Jacob Burdette shows off a molted blue crab shell he found on Onset Beach. (Photo by: Meghan Neely)
From left: Julie Phillips, Emma Sylvia and Robert Sylvia pose with pails full of periwinkles found during a beach exploration. (Photo by: Meghan Neely)
Aiden Perry checks his net for minnows and shrimp. (Photo by: Meghan Neely)
From left: Mikayla Black, Emma Sylvia and Robert Sylvia journal their favorite experiences with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. (Photo by: Meghan Neely)
Sofia Barboza cheers on Mikayla Black as they run a swimming relay race on Onset Beach. (Photo by: Meghan Neely)
Comments (6)
Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 27, 2018 13:55

This is fantastic!! Can’t wait until the bathhouse is done! These kids are so lucky to be part of this program. Great for the community!

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Jul 30, 2018 15:31

It will be a great program. However, this program was not for "Wareham kids" but for kids registered through the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. It's not true that "it's an experience they can't get anywhere else." Many if not most of our neighboring towns have recreation programs that can include sailing. My son started in a rec program and now goes through MMA. This BBC program isn't offered for him. I'm pretty sure Ms Neely means preceeds not proceeds, and programming not programing. Come to the Conservation Commission meeting on Monday night to see the "final" plans.

Posted by: beingnice | Jul 30, 2018 15:40

Stay away from negative people.  They have a problem for every solution.  -Albert Einstein-

Posted by: beingnice | Jul 30, 2018 15:44

Stay away from negative people.  They have a problem for every solution.  - Albert Einstein -

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Jul 30, 2018 22:19

Onsettogether, do you EVER have anything positive to say or are you just hanging around town to dig into and complain about everything?  It's old now.

This program looks great!  It looks like the children had a good time, and it got them out and exploring nature.  There is NOTHING wrong with that!  I hope to see more and more of these types of events in the future.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 31, 2018 07:47

Onsettogether, where do you think the kids from the boys and girls club and YMCA come from? Wareham! Let is go already. The AG's office has already sided with the town on this one. This is good for Wareham and better for the kids.

If you wish to comment, please login.