Susan Johnson’s professional work is what got her interested in the efforts of the Piscataqua Maritime Commission.
She is the Expanded Learning Opportunities Coordinator/Grant Coordinator at Traip Academy in Kittery, Maine. In that job, she has helped recruit students to participate in the commission’s Sea Challenge program.
Susan became part of the PMC Board of Directors to help ensure opportunities continue for underserved youth in the region to participate in Sea Challenge, a week long experiential education voyage aboard a tall ship.
“Since the summer of 2017, I have had the opportunity to recruit students who have never set foot aboard a sailboat – let alone a tall ship – and watch their faces light up as they start their week-long journey at sea,” she says. “Even more rewarding, is meeting the students at the end of the voyage and listening their tales of the amazing experiences they had aboard.”
Susan grew up sailing on Lake Michigan and, after her father’s retirement, cruising in the family trawler along the coast of Florida. During a recent summer, she describes what she calls “an amazing opportunity” to be the deckhand for a 76-year-old lobsterman out of Pepperell Cove.
She is proud of the PMC mission to raise awareness of the region’s maritime history and programming that includes, in addition to the Sea Challenge, the Sail Portsmouth events and Maritime Talks.
The events, she says, “highlight our heritage as well as bring awareness to the importance of maintaining a working waterfront along the Piscataqua River.”