…until yesterday! One of the things I love most about working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus is seeing all of the amazing programs and activities the club members are exposed to. On this particular Saturday 14 members traveled to a wake boarding and paddle boarding pond in Marysville, Ohio. I know what you’re all thinking…Kids + Water=Will’s worst nightmare! That’s what I was expecting as well. However, the members were on their best behavior, were extremely excited to be trying something new, and had plenty of adult supervision!
The event was organized by a local nonprofit called HERO (Health, Education, Recreation, Organization). They frequently host outdoor events for children that may otherwise not have the opportunity to go wake boarding. In the Winter they host ski trips too!
It is so refreshing to be around kids. Just seeing them happy to go kyaking, paddle boarding, wake boarding, etc. was enjoyable. Every time I kept thinking, “man these kids are really bad, or they don’t listen” I would just laugh to myself and remind myself that they are just kids who are excited about something new, acting like kids. What seven year old do you know who listens 100% of the time? Although the main focus of the day was water sports, the kids could not participate without an introduction to water safety.
At the beginning of the day the kids were split into different groups and learned how to participate in each individual activity and were taught by a specific instructor. There was one member who was determined to not get wet and she was originally only interested in kyaking. However, after she saw everyone else trying the wake boarding course she could not help but try it out. Little did she know she LOVED it and tried it 3 different times! Not only did the members enjoy the organized activities, they also enjoyed swimming for the pure joy of it. When they ran out of things to do, they literally took turns jumping off the dock and swimming with each other.
For those kids such as myself (in my younger days) who get tired of water after a few hours (which is still true) they had a few land activities. In addition to people-watching and sunbathing, I was able to teach the kids an Ohio State pastime…they had a cornhole set (or bean bag toss, or whatever people in states outside of Ohio call it). Regardless of what it’s called, it was fun to share an Ohio State football saturday tradition with many of the members who’d never played it before.
As I am always reflecting upon my past experiences to relate them with current ones, I couldn’t help but remember all of my nonprofit management courses at OSU that talked about collaborating with different nonprofits and finding missions that overlap. This water sports event seems like a perfect example of two nonprofits working together to accomplish one goal, of providing good kids with great opportunities!