BELFAST — Sylis Littlefield, 15, was eating Wild Cow Creamery’s Mexican hot chocolate ice cream along the Harbor Walk Oct. 2 when he and other students in The Game Loft and its sister program I Know Me were approached by an employee of Belmont Boatworks.

The worker was having trouble pulling a winch out of the bay while hauling out a sunken skiff with a machine from a truck. He asked  the teenagers, who were dressed in period clothing, to pull on the rope connected to his winch to get it out, Sylis said.

Earlier that day, the students had been volunteering at Grove Cemetery, dressed as historic Belfast figures for a tour organized by the cemetery’s trustees. Most costumes were modeled on outfits from the Revolutionary War and Civil War eras. Sylis was dressed as a famous congressman associated with Belfast, he said.

When asked, the kids did not hesitate to lend a helping hand. Sylis said it was difficult pulling on the line, but he was glad he could help. “It was really heavy and you couldn’t make it go faster. It only went as fast as it went,” he said.

It is unclear why the boat sank, but the Harbormaster’s Office verified that it was a skiff associated with a fishing boat.

I Know Me program director Patricia Estabrook said the students’ behavior was in line with the organization’s mission to promote community involvement and positive youth development. The Game Loft and I Know Me serve kids from Regional School Unit 71 and Regional School Unit 3, respectively.

“People were really impressed,” she said. “It was exciting there were kids in uniforms and fancy dress and beautiful costumes and they were ready to pitch right in and help out wherever they needed help. That’s what we hope that we will inspire in kids, both as they are in their youth and when they become adults. Always ready to volunteer, always ready to do positive things for their community.”

The organization helps kids figure out who they are by teaching them about the community they come from so they can determine where they are going in life, she said. Kids gather to play non-electronic games after school.

One onlooker was concerned about the children pulling on the line. Nautilus staff member Shawna Aitkins said she was working when she noticed the kids pulling on the rope. She thought it was dangerous and said if the rope had broken the children could have been hurt.

But for Sylis it did not feel unsafe. He said the line was strong and he never felt like it was going to break. After their assistance, the kids received appreciation from Belmont Boatworks.