Being from Rhode Island, I truly look forward to the summer months. What’s not to love about spending days enjoying the warm weather in the great outdoors? It’s also the time for getting active outside: tennis, beach volleyball, and golf are just a few of my summer favorites, best enjoyed with a side of sunshine.
While most people think of summer as a time for recreation and beach vacations, many overlook the opportunity to get involved with what’s right next door or in your local community.
Save The Bay
is a phenomenal example of an organization to become involved with. You might find a similar organization near you. By becoming involved, I learned a lot about being safe and keeping cool in the summer heat while getting to know others in my community.
What To Do At Save The Bay
The Rhode Island based group was founded in 1970 on the belief that the Narragansett Bay needed a community advocate to protect and maintain the cherished body of water. For almost half a century, Save The Bay has also provided a bounty of opportunities to get involved in their efforts, all while creating an educational environment for both children and adults to learn the importance of environmental protection.
“Cleanups are a great way to start. It’s the ground floor of volunteering,” says July Lewis, Intern Manager for Save The Bay.
Save The Bay hosts frequent Shoreside Cleanups, where volunteers can donate a few hours of their day to clear a beach or waterside location of litter and pollution, helping make the environment more enjoyable for locals of both the animal and human kind. There are several cleanups every month, from the spring through the end of the fall. Volunteers can attend a pre-scheduled cleanup, or can train with Save The Bay to host a cleanup of their own. Not only will you be cleaning up the beach, but it’s a great way to socialize and meet other members of your community who share a passion for protecting the environment.
“Anybody can make a difference. All it takes is rolling up your sleeves… and you can see the difference that you’ve made.” says Lewis.
The cleanups are the perfect excuse to get outside and get active. As a volunteer, you’ll be walking the beach, collecting anything that doesn’t belong on the shoreline and working with fellow volunteers to leave the bay a better place than you found it. Bring the family along as well!
“I’ve had volunteers with babies in packs on their backs. It’s all wide open.” adds Lewis, noting that any amount of volunteering is greatly appreciated by the organization. You’ll be making a difference and a great impression on your children that the environment is something to be cherished and protected.
Chill Out While You Help Out
If you’re donating your time for a Shoreside Cleanup or any outdoors event, it’s important to remember that this is still a challenging outdoor activity, and you should make certain steps to keep yourself cool, especially if the temperatures are on the rise.
- Stay hydrated and pace yourself. Don’t ignore the feeling of needing to take a break - your effectiveness as a volunteer depends on your health and wellness.
- Wearing the right clothing is also important. Light, breathable gear will help you stay cool, and a hat or visor will protect you from the sun.
- If you’re volunteering with family, friends or colleagues, keep a protective eye out for them as well.
It’s easy for someone to remain quiet about symptoms of exhaustion or dehydration, especially when they do not want to take away from the focus of the event. Older adults are especially susceptible for exhaustion, although it’s a danger to any volunteer. Encourage hydration with your colleagues and breaks when necessary.
Looking for a way to get involved in your local community?
There are plenty of websites online that can match you with local organizations and groups looking for eager volunteers like yourself. Every little bit helps. If you see trash on the beach, pick it up. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference. “It’s not okay to trash the bay,” says Lewis. Treat your surroundings with respect and love, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for many summers and years to come.