When Crews "Click"

Friday, August 2, 2013
James Coyle
There is a moment on every crew where everything seems to "click." Some crews are lucky and this happens right away. For most crews it takes some time, and for others it may not happen for a long time. When this occurs, it is a proud moment for any crew leader. I am happy to say that over the course of this past week my crew had our "click." 
 
It is not something that happens all at once, but when you recognize it happening it is unmistakeable. You can see it in the way the members greet you and their fellow crew members in the morning, or when there is some strange joke that only members of your crew will understand. It is visible in the way they go about completing their tasks, or how they react to new challenges when they arise. This week was a phenomenal week for my crew -- not only in the amount of work we completed, but in the way all the members started to come together as a team and as friends.
 
Our main project for this week was to deconstruct two large boardwalks which had broken away during Sandy and were pushed up against the remnants of a sea wall. These boardwalks were resting between a small strip of beach and a salt marsh on the bayside of the peninsula. We were also tasked with removing sections of rusted old fencing which were slowly sinking into the sand. This area proved to be a difficult worksite as it was heavily affected by the tides, which would wash over much of the site. The site was also relatively remote, making the removal of debris a bit of an issue. 
 
For such a large project, we worked with the other Sandy Hook crew and a Youth Conservation Corps crew. The students quickly worked out a system to disassemble the boardwalks and carry out the debris to a location where park maintenance workers could remove it. Although the work was hard, the students enjoyed it as it provided an interesting challenge and a chance to use some new tools. 
 
With the crew "clicking" and an exciting project to work on, the work went smoothly and quickly. Before we knew it, we had much of the boardwalks disassembled. We still have a small amount of work to do on this project, but with the way the crew has been working, it will no doubt go very quickly.
 
To end the week, all three crews took a trip to Rutgers University, where I had set up a lecture for our students. The lecture was given by Dr. Ken Miller, a professor I was close with while at Rutgers, as he was an alumni of my fraternity, and his son was also one of my fraternity brothers during my time in undergrad. His lecture was entitled "Should I Sell My Shore House: Climate Change and the Jersey Shore." This lecture was especially applicable to our work, as it dealt with the effects of Hurricane Sandy and how sea level rise will affect the Jersey shore in the future. As most of the members of my crew are from the Jersey Shore, this lecture hit very close to home. Despite the dismal predictions presented by the lecture, the kids really enjoyed the lecture, and hopefully gained new insights into the work we are doing. I can only wait to see the new enthusiasm they will bring next week.

Carolyn Lucey

AEO Crew Leader
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Jamal Garcia

AEO Crew Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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James Coyle

Leader Team Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Molly Lewen

Sandy Crew One Member
Sandy Hook
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Vicki Rubino

Leader Team Leader
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Victoria Pennacchio

SCA Crew Member
Gateway National Recreation Area
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Project Locations

Jamaica Bay, NY
Staten Island, NY
Sandy Hook, NJ
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