reaching new heights

Just before noon, Alberto, whose name has been changed for this article, eyed the zip line suspiciously. He’d already tried once to gather the courage to ride it across the wide-open space below. On his first attempt, the 8-year-old made it to the top of the ladder. By lunchtime on the first ever YFS Family Day, Alberto made it all the way to the edge of the 40– ft high platform and stopped, planning to try again after the noon meal.

The YFS Linkages to Learning team designed Family Day to highlight the importance of leisure and play in strengthening the bond between parents and children. Then, on March 21, 2015, twenty-five families of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds came to Camp Letts in beautiful Edgewater, MD, for a day of team-building games, hiking, zip lining, and art projects. A new tradition called Family Day was born.

During the day, staff watched as several students, like Alberto, increased self-confidence and tried to overcome their fears with the support of family and peers. As soon as Alberto finished eating lunch, he returned to the zip line determined to succeed. This time, his Mom watched. Before lunch, she and other parents had attended a session separate from their children.
As the parents, students and staff cheered him on, Alberto climbed the ladder, walked across the platform and took off down the zip line, his face beaming with excitement. His Mom was so impressed by Alberto’s courage that she surprised him and rode the zip line for the first time too. The enthusiasm Alberto and his mom shared was so contagious, many were inspired to challenge themselves on the zip line.
In late afternoon, Alberto and his Mom played outside, sat in rocking chairs, danced and played games. After dinner, the group gathered around a campfire to eat s’mores and reflect on the day. Another student, 6-year-old Robbie, enjoyed his first s’more and declared that it would not be his last.

Categories: Y Stories