Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest post: Coast Guard visits Camp Casa Mare

Members of the Mariners program recently got a special visit while spending the weekend sailing at Camp Casa Mare - a Coast Guard helicopter landed at camp! Mariners Commodore Madi C. shares her experience, and Mariners Historian Jenelle Wrightson shares her photos from the exciting day.

Coast Guard helicopter at Camp Casa Mare
By Madi C.
Mariners Commodore

One thing I love about Camp Casa Mare is that it’s always full of surprises. When I was first told that we were possibly going to have a Coast Guard helicopter land at camp, I couldn't believe my ears. On the morning of the visit, I was rushing to Port to wait for and watch the helicopter land. The experience left me awestruck and gave me a new appreciation for not only the Coast Guard but also the people who volunteer their time at camp.

Piled in the dorm with 30 girls, I watched as a dot in the sky buzzed about the blue expanse above. The dark dot flew closer: first the rotor blades began to come into focus, then the stark orange colored paint of the body, and then suddenly its shadow was over camp. The nose of the large bird practically nestled into the wind blown grass as it landed left of our dock. After the blades stopped spinning and we were given the okay, all 30 of us were charging down the hill with excited curiosity.

Mariners got the chance to explore
every inch of the helicopter
Lieutenant Brian Seekatz, Rescue Swimmer Josh Magie, Lieutenant Ian Hall and AMT Josh Pittman greeted us when we got down the hill. After they introduced themselves and gave a quick summary of their jobs on the helicopter, they gave us a demonstration. I was pushed forward to volunteer from someone behind me. I was run through how Magie, the rescue swimmer, would go about saving a victim in the water. Wrapping a very technical orange fitted tube under my arms he demonstrated how a victim might be raised up in the helicopter. There was also a demonstration of how the basket is used and how it attaches with the large hook on the side of the helicopter. It was amazing to see how much goes into the rescuing of people on the water.

Members of the Coast Guard who visited with GSSJC Mariners
were given a special "thank you" treat to take home
After the demonstration, all of us were allowed to look around inside the helicopter and ask any question we were just dying to know. Every nook and cranny of that helicopter was explored and we inquired about everything. This is an experience that I will never forget and will forever appreciate. Having the Coast Guard helicopter land at camp was an amazing insight in such a huge part of coastal area.


The sailing program has opportunities for older girls to become Mariners (Mariners are girls who have passed the Red Cross Basic Sailing certification) through Instruction weekends, Aquatics weekends and resident camp. All opportunities are offered at Camp Casa Mare in Seabrook. For more information, contact Melissa Hardy at 713-292-0376 or mhardy@sjgs.org.