In 2006, Mayor Menino leased Long Island in Boston Harbor to Jack Connors. The price? A dollar. 11 years later, that dollar, with the island summer camp it started, has gone on to open doors for thousands of Boston's children. Jack Connors is now the Co-Founder and Chairman of Camp Harbor View, and Partners HealthCare has been a dedicated sponsor since day one. We support the camp not just financially but by teaching the kids about healthcare career paths and providing job shadowing opportunities at Partners HealthCare facilities.

Today, Camp Harbor View is a summer escape and adventure for Boston's youth. Every morning, kids from the nearby neighborhoods get on a boat and head for the island. Campers pay $5 for a 4-week session, where they learn to swim, ride bikes, and collaborate with peers. Campers also have the chance to learn about healthcare and related careers from Partners volunteers.

The Partners HealthCare Career Day is one of the ways we support the camp's mission. Twice a summer for the last seven years, as many as 30 Partners clinicians have headed out to Camp Harbor View with patient dummies, stethoscopes, and resistance bands in tow. The goal is to make healthcare engaging with hands-on stations that teach the kids about healthy living, and to open their eyes to a wide range of exciting healthcare careers. Charlotte Roy, Safety Officer and Emergency Management Coordinator at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, explains that as a Career Day volunteer, "we try to give [the campers] a feel for the fact that there’s a lot you can do if you work hard and you find what your passion is."

"They get a chance to learn about being a nurse from a nurse, or being a radiologist from someone who's in radiology."

Jack Connors, Co-Founder and Chairman, Camp Harbor View

Our clinicians volunteer their time to teach as many as 300 kids over the course of the day about careers like sports medicine, respiratory therapy and radiology. They teach the campers how to intubate, how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, basic nutrition like avoiding sugary drinks and what the fat in their favorite snacks really looks like, and so much more. Regina Harvey, Nursing Director at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and Career Day volunteer, explains, "We are coaches to them, we are guides, we are educators and we are also trainers." But it's not just about that. "It's giving them the reality that there are people out there that care about them," says Regina.

Partners HealthCare's dedication to the kids of Camp Harbor View extends beyond our career day. Once campers turn 15, they have a chance to become a Camp Harbor View Leader in Training (LIT). At that point, several Partners facilities open their doors for LITs to participate in a job shadowing internship program. The program is aimed at LITs who've really engaged with the camp and its leadership development initiatives, and ensures that their opportunities don't end when they step off the boat. Through the LIT internship program, they can discover what they might want to study in college, receive a college scholarship, and continue learning how to be successful members of society. As one LIT put it, "Because of my internship, I've learned that relationships are key to success in life."

"I’ve learned that relationships are key to success in life."

Camp Harbor View LIT, intern at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center

There's a phenomenon called the butterfly effect, where one small change can have a huge impact on a much larger outcome. It could be a child's opportunity to attend summer camp, their discovery of a new kind of career, or to be told that they’re important, strong, and smart enough to make it all happen. It could be one dollar from 11 years ago, put towards a future generation. Mayor Menino and Jack Connors had that foresight. "They don't have to live their lives in a 6-block world…not knowing that the Atlantic Ocean is right around the corner," says Connors.

As Camp Harbor View volunteers, supporters, and believers, we have to agree. As a matter of fact, many of us at Partners HealthCare believe that these kids will go on to change the world.

Topics: Community Partnerships, Clinical Training

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