When I joined the Intrepid Museum as a volunteer, I expected to meet a lot of visitors with a service connection. And it is an honor to welcome home Intrepid crew members, meet veterans with other experiences, and thank the men and women on active duty today.
My biggest surprise has been discovering the quantity and quality of Intrepid educational programs. It is a secret too well kept from the public.
These programs are diverse, but they all emphasize STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This curriculum, so vital to our children, is often an easy victim to budget crunch. Intrepid is stepping up to the challenge as others turn away.
The Intrepid educational staff is distinct from the tour guides and volunteers that visitors meet. Most are professional teachers. They are amazing. When they explain to children how airplanes fly and why ships do not sink, I take notes.
Intrepid partners with teachers, scout leaders, and organizations on multi-session programs. Other events bring together children from communities of limited opportunity. Without Intrepid, they might never meet and share experiences with people outside their world. The Access Initiative reaches students with disabilities. There is Camp Intrepid, and G.O.A.L.S. (Greater Opportunities for Advancing Leadership and Science). The list goes on.
CASA (Cultural After School Adventures) is an arts enrichment program sponsored by the New York City Council. Over an eight-week period, Intrepid educators visit the classroom and students visit the ship. Their goal is to create a “ship’s newspaper”, with each student writing an article about what they have learned. As a former Navy Journalist, I talk about our ship newspaper and life at sea. My biggest learned lesson: keep my talk short, because the students have a treasure of questions that speak to their imagination and curiosity.
Every spring, Intrepid works with Community Mayors, an organization of civic leaders, to host several hundred children with disabilities. Intrepid staff helps the children learn to steer the ship, climb into a sailor’s bunk, and feel the sway of a lifeboat adrift at sea. We “chow down” on the Mess Deck. Their words may be hesistant, but the smiles say it all.
A museum teaches the past so that we might build a better future. The Intrepid is helping prepare young visitors for that journey. It makes me proud to be on board.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
The emotional satisfaction of seeing visitors from around the world respond to the story of Intrepid.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Get more publicity and awareness for the educational progams.