The Scavenger Hunt

Hunter at play in Mary Jane Lee Park

Hunter at play in Mary Jane Lee Park

On Saturday, from eleven to noon, the North Shore CDC, with help from local artist Bradley Backer, hosted a scavenger hunt in The Point for Hats Off to Education Day in Salem. Eight neighborhood spots were on the map. I studied the map while waiting for all volunteers to gather at the NSCDC offices on Lafayette Street;  within such a small area, the activities and locations were diverse: pondering community identity at the neighborhood murals, currency conversion at Harbor Sweets, nutrition at Celia’s Restaurant, and the environment at Mary Jane Lee Park, where I was to be stationed. Well, the activity was impressive in its creativity and simplicity as it was designed to appeal to families: people of all ages could have fun exploring a much maligned area, and see it in a new light – with their own eyes, to dispel vague prejudices. As I later learned, participating families met at another location and chose activities in which to participate from a long list of options. The Point Scavenger Hunt attracted one family. One. I asked my partner in the park at least three times if I heard her correctly.

Tom shares his thoughts on participation and people's perception of The Point

Tom shares his thoughts on participation and people’s perception of The Point

The family, a father and son, made their way to the park at around noon.  As his son explored the playground, we spoke to the father, Tom. I asked him, by way of making conversation, why he thought more people didn’t sign up, not really expecting an answer. Tom, however, didn’t hesitate: people didn’t sign up because the activity was in The Point. He suggested that next time we omit the neighborhood name to get a good turnout. He has no doubt of people’s prejudiced perceptions.  Tom and his son enjoyed the activities – they were neighborhood VIPs, after all, as they had almost a dozen volunteers throughout the neighborhood to give them their undivided attention.


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