A Fun Filled Saturday

May 23, 2024


A Fun Filled Saturday

When Lucy* walked in the door to the youth center on Saturday, she did not look excited. I walked over and asked how she was doing and was met with an immediate glare. “Not good,” she said, “my mom said I spend too much time in my room so she made me get up and come here.”

Knowing Lucy and the typical eighth grader she was becoming, I responded sarcastically “Boohoo you have to go white water rafting today. What a bummer.” The smallest smile leaked from her lips.

In the car Lucy chatted with the other students, always making sure to throw in the fact that she would rather be in bed than at this trip. She seemed to be having a good time, but she wanted everyone to know that she was an angsty teen who liked to spend time in her room and nowhere else.

When we pulled up to the park, the real fun began. Lucy and the other students struggled into full length wetsuits and booties. The look was completed with a yellow helmet, life jacket, and paddle. I looked over to see Lucy sitting in the boat with her friend, once again, not looking thrilled. Soon enough we put the boats in the beyond chilly water and learned how to paddle, and turn the boat. Lucy complained, once again, that she’d rather be at home.

Before we knew it, however, we were off, rollercoastering down rapids and then paddling through pristine calm conditions. The other boat passed us with a boy sitting right on the front, legs dangling into the water. Lucy looked over at the guide, “can I try?”

Lucy climbed up to the front of the raft and “rode the bull” as the guide called it while we navigated the more mild rapids. She returned to her seat and we cascaded through the Devil’s Toenail Rapid. Despite it being barely 60 degrees out, the guide offered one last chance to jump in the water, as we neared our final destination. Lucy’s friend stood up and pulled Lucy up with her, counted to 3 and the two were off.

We pulled the shivering girls back into the boat and applauded them for their bravery. Lucy was the last person I expected to jump in, but I guess the she was happier to be on the river than she thought. The guide began to lead us through some reflection on the experience we had. The group had experienced some brief scary moments, some exciting ones, some really really cold ones, and some funny ones. Lucy might never admit it, but I think she had a lot more fun that day than she would have in her room, and maybe just maybe, she’ll be a little more excited for our next adventure.

This adventure was completely funded by the generosity of Believe in Me, an organization that recently awarded us with a $5000 grant, to impact our students lives. We are so incredibly thankful for the ability to take students like Lucy to trips and introduce her to experiences they have never had before.

*For the purposes of this story, her name was changed.