On Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 2 ICO volunteers (Jeff and Maria) and 1 St. Peters staff leader (Daniel) led a group of 7 St. Peters kids in middle and high school to the Babson Boulders in "Dogtown", near Gloucester, MA on an unusually warm 70 degree fall day.
The group met at St. Peters for breakfast, and after an hour-long drive we arrived at the entrance on Dogtown Road, and formed an intro circle to learn each other's names by tossing ever more balls in the air to each other, and also learn a bit about the history of the area, as well as how to read maps and contour lines and navigate through a forest (Danny's Army Reserve training came in very handy!)
We set down the path and came across various boulders carved by Stonecutters hired by Millionaire Mr. Babson and the Works Progress Administration during the Great Gepression, and also got to see some great late fall foliage. When coming to each boulder, we all learned (or tried to learn!) the Creole translation, as well as the meaning behind the phrase, and each member of the group gave their interpretation of what it meant, and what it meant to them personally. And then we enjoyed all posing around the various boulders, as you can see from the pictures!
We made it as far as "Loyalty" and realized we were all getting hungry, so we looped back around the trail towards the van. On the trail, we learned a bit about geographic history (how boulders were deposited by glaciers during the ice age), and cultural history (about how the area was once home to many fisherman widows who kept dogs to protect their homes - hence the name "Dogtown").
From Babson Boulders, we made the short drive to beautiful Stage Fort Park, which is perched along Gloucester harbor on a hill with a great view (and a very impressive historic boulder). We had a great lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and apple cider, and then explored the park (and it's rocky beach) at low tide, examining the big rocks and skipping some of them into the harbor.
We ended the day with a closing circle, where we all shared our favorite part of the day, as well as the message on the boulders that was most important to all of us (Integrity, Ideals, and Stay out of Debt were all very popular). We then piled back into our cars for the trip back to Boston, all looking forward to our next ICO trip.