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July 3, 2013
An Update: The Walsh Gym
By Rick Winterson

The Walsh Gym, also called “the Muni” or “the PAL” for Police Athletic League (depending upon your age when you first went there), was to be shut down a few years ago, because of fiscal constraints – i.e., no money – in the City of Boston’s  government coffers.   Many South Boston agencies and programs were concerned.  Led by the Gavin Foundation, efforts to keep the Walsh open succeeded.  This article will give you a brief update on the goings-on there this summer.

Last Monday, July 1, when this interview was conducted, the summer employees were undergoing training.  According to Ron Maciejewski, who is the Program Manager at the Walsh, some 15 employees will be working at the Walsh this summer, using grant money from the City’s Centers for Youth & Families and MassPort.  The Walsh’s summer programs begin this coming Monday, July 8The training the prospective employees were taking was CPR – Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.  That’s a complex name for a lifesaving maneuver.  You perhaps have seen CPR on television or on the movies.  It involves compression of a stricken person’s chest, as well as breathing into the person’s mouth to provide oxygen.  It is used when a person’s hearth or lungs cease to function.  Complete training is required before ever using CPR for real.

The course was being conducted by Lead CPR Instructor Mike Ohrt.  The actual hands-on training involves the use of dummies that mimic the behavior of people who have suffered certain conditions where CPR could be useful.  The training even includes how to administer CPR to babies who need it.  It is an intensive exposure.

As you might imagine, a key activity in the Walsh Gym is basketball.  The shining, brightly lit regulation court irresistibly beckons the hoop fan or player .  Right now, the Walsh Gym is the home of the Gate of Heaven Basketball team – a perennial strength in CYO basketball.  Look at the banners on the rafters – “high above courtside”, as Johnny Most used to say.  It resembles the Garden.The BNBL (Boston Neighborhood Basketball League) will have summer league.  You can play for a team Monday through Thursday evenings from 5 till 9 p.m.  Maybe six men’s teams will be formed.  Attention, young ladies:  The

BNBL still has plenty of openings on its girls’ basketball teams.There are plenty of other athletic pursuits at the Walsh – foozball, pool, and ping pong among them.  A whiffle ball tournament will be started up, if there’s interest.  But that’s not all that goes on at the Walsh.  There a snack bar called “Buffalo’s”, which is also a source of summer jobs.  And if you think it’s somehow easy to run a snack bar, take a look at the qualifying quiz.  It has questions about how to quench a grease fire and how to safely use machinery like grinders and slicers, as well as food prep and proper cleanliness.

There are other useful programs, too.  One is a college preparedness course.  Another is personal finance taught by Sean Monahan, the Chief Accountant in the Boston Public Library.  There’s a drug and alcohol abuse seminar conducted by the Gavin Foundation’s “Speakers for Hope”.

Don’t let your summer slip by without checking out the Walsh.  Drop in and see what’s going down or just to hang out for awhile:  Monday through Friday from 12 noon till 10 p.m.; Saturday from 3 till 10 p.m.  Friday nights are dance nights; Saturday nights are movie nights.

To repeat:  It all begins this coming Monday, July 8.   



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