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Camp Harbor View Helps Boston Kids Learn And Thrive

BOSTON (CBS) — It's a summer camp for Boston kids who might not otherwise have the chance for a special summer.

Camp Harbor View is in its 13th year helping kids thrive. And this camp is about much more than just having fun.

It's just a short boat ride from Boston, but Camp Harbor View, nestled on Long Island in Boston Harbor, is a world away for most of the kids who come here.

"Camp Harbor View is a program that offers an opportunity for middle school students and high school students to experience just being a kid," said Lisa Fortenberry, the camp's director.

Camp Harbor View
Camp Harbor View (WBZ-TV)

According to Fortenberry, the camp hosts 900 young people each summer during two, four-week sessions.

"Many of them are from our city neighborhoods that don't have the green space, the beautiful sights and views, the opportunity to be by the ocean," Fortenberry said. "It's an opportunity for kids out here to really challenge themselves, be a part of new experiences, make new friends."

Campers also get to participate in new activities like learning about golf, riding bikes without worrying about traffic, working with a choreographer on dance skills and building confidence by conquering the rock wall.

"It was really fun. What I did was, I rock climbed the wall and I touched the top," said camper Sevaja Neal.

Fun is the "hook," but there's a lot more going on. Fortenberry said teamwork, communications, perseverance and resiliency are some of the lessons learned.

Camp Harbor View
Camp Harbor View (WBZ-TV)

"You learn core values like respect and being honest," said camper Exbin Gongon.

"I learn a lot about leadership and responsibility," said Mazzy Gallentin, another camper.

Camper Naijah Santiago described the experience as a "fun way of learning."

Some of the kids even graduate into the Leaders In Training program and become mentors.

"I feel like I help further the experience, and make the summer better," said Zachary Leung-Tat, one of the leaders in training.

Camp Harbor View
Camp Harbor View (WBZ-TV)

The camp also provides three meals a day to the campers — breakfast on the boat going to the island, lunch while they're there and dinner on the way back.

"There is a safety in this community and an inspiration in this community that for many of our kids who are struggling outside this island, deserve and need," Fortenberry said.

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