The West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program received a grant from the Lewes Yacht Club Foundation for $4,500 to be used for educational water activities this summer.
The program was notified of the grant in February and created a list of activities for the youth, among them, a ride on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. For many, it was their first time out on the water.
About 90 percent of the kids had never been on a boat before, said West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program director Diaz Bonville. “They need to know what's in the water here.”
A group of more than a dozen excited youth took part in the ride, each of them decked out in matching bright orange shirts.
“I will remember this boat for as long as I live,” said Te'Era Finney.
Using binoculars while gazing off the side of the boat, kids got a look at sea creatures like jellyfish and dolphins, while seagulls hovered over the boat, captivating many of the youth.
“I've never seen so many seagulls before. It looked like they weren't moving at all,” said Naziyah Hazzard.
The children found the 85-minute ride endlessly entertaining as they played games and peered over the side of the boat.
Besides riding the ferry, kids also received a presentation on The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Inc., by Executive Director Suzanne Thurman and a day at Abbott's Mill Pond Nature Center in Milford, thanks to the grant by the foundation.
Coming soon is a trip to a seafood restaurant. Since they have seen what's in the water, Bonville said, it's time for them to see it on their plate. Also planned is a trip to Cape Henlopen State Park, where the kids will learn more about the ocean.