Monday, July 27, 2009

Last Friday's field trip

I went to bed last Thursday night with a sense of foreboding due to the forecast. Friday we'd planned to take the B-SAFE campers to the Blue Hill Observatory and then to Houghton Pond afterward for swimming and a picnic.

As I was awakened Thursday night by the sound of howling winds and torrential downpours I realized my sense of foreboding was unfortuantely not for naught.

For a type A organizer like myself a last minute change of plan like this is -- well, less than ideal at the least.

But on to plan B it was - bowling at Boston Bowl.

Getting 75 kids into rental shoes and connecting them with the right size bowling balls was an interesting feat - but soon enough I saw 15 lanes of kids with big smiles on their faces, some flinging the ball (and occasionally themselves) down the lane at breakneck speed, while the smaller kids would have had time to run and grab a snack after rolling the ball and could have still been back to the lane in time to see it hit (or more accurately, gently nudge) a pin or 2.

Afterward we enjoyed that cure-all tonic known as the pizza lunch. You've never seen 25 cartons of pizza disappear so fast.

With Michael Theobald reporting that Houghton Pond was a pond even where it wasn't supposed to be a pond, it was on to plan C for the afternoon. We dumped all manner of balls, bats, frisbees, rackets etc. onto the parking lot and had at it.

Soon I found myself talking trash with Ranjit and 5 or 6 other kids in an entertaining game of touch football in the parking lot. (We all know Ranjit to be kind and considerate but trust me, football brings out his competitive side!)

As I looked at the faces of these kids throughout the day in the context of my own fretting about plans changed by weather I was reminded that the the point of B-SAFE isn't where you go or what you do - it's simply spending time with a lot of really great kids. For me the most fulfilling aspect of B-SAFE for both the kids and we volunteers are those simple and informal but important and direct personal encounters. I am certain that the kids won't remember or care that the way we spent our day was a plan B due to rain. But I like to believe they'll remember a lot of those personal encounters. I know I will.

Thank you so much to the very large group of enthusiastic and committed volunteers who gave their time to this week of St. Michael's B-SAFE support.

Randy Wambold

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