On Monday, February 20, Care Fresno took a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Field trips like these are considered incentive trips; throughout the year, we encourage and motivate kids with various trips and activities. Sites may choose to bring kids to a field trip or party based on attendance, improvements in behavior or grades, memorizing Bible verses, or other benchmarks.
Once at the Aquarium, sites split up to explore. The kids were eager to see everything, some of them for the first time! As we rushed to look at everything while keeping our group together, some of the kids pulled me and the other leaders over to show us the amazing new things they were seeing, while other kids quietly took everything in. One of my girls took full advantage of every interactive display and wanted to constantly be doing something, while another was content to simply linger at every tank for as long as possible. One of my teenage boys came with a list of what he wanted to see and he enjoyed reading the signs to know the name of every creature, while his sister who had come with us last year was eager to show her friends her favorite parts of the aquarium. In the meantime, another boy engaged with aquarium staff and volunteers with a variety of questions. He was especially interested in the artwork at the aquarium. While nearly everyone took pictures on various devices, I learned that one of my girls has a real eye for photography. Everyone walked away with a favorite part of the day that they lit up talking about and their excitement was contagious.
In addition to leaders getting to spend time with kids, relationships between kids were deepened as the kids shared an adventure together. Six of the eight kids from my site had a sibling there with them and it was beautiful to watch the siblings be able to bond over this experience, especially since family trips are something that may not be part of their growing up experiences.
Throughout the day, I observed aspects of the kids that I would not have known through homework and regular after school program hours; these are things that emerged when we took kids out of their regular environment and explored together. Field trips like this enable me to focus on having fun and enjoying the kids, instead of on homework or other tasks. I found myself enthralled with witnessing the kids’ excitement and I marveled at how amazing each and every one of them is, and how enriched my life is because of them.