At the end of our first week of program, the B-SAFE at Epiphany LEARN site was anticipating our first full-day Friday field trip. The uncertain weather forecast --would it rain? would it thunder?--added to the feelings of the morning. Slowly, young people started arriving to the building, checked in with staff, and took their seats in the cafeteria, talking each other with excitement about the trip. Our wonderful Epiphany Site Assistants helped the group start off the morning with a delicious breakfast. But what would the day's weather hold?
Our site of 60 elementary youth, 15 teens, and 10 adult staff boarded a bus and traveled 35 miles from our site near Codman Square in Dorchester to Hopkinton State Park. An hour-long, muggy, and hot bus ride later, the youth still had a positive attitude. They were curious if we would be able to splash in the water and hike through the trees. And then...the skies began to turn blue and the gray clouds withered away! The day's activities were ON!
Our first activity for the day put the "safe" in B-SAFE. Our staff securely created a perimeter of our bodies before participants began exploring the shallow waters of the pond. Once the protective perimeter was established, group by group, participants stepped in and the splashing began almost instantly. It was clear that the young people were excited to cool off.
The fun didn’t stop there! Our fantastic partner church volunteers from St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Holliston were ready to host us for lunch at the shaded picnic area. After a cook-out lunch, the volunteers led participants in fun field games and nature scavenger hunts. Each young person was given a checklist of natural objects to look for in the woods and fields. Some of the things were so small that they required a magnifying glass to find.
So, although the morning started off with gray skies, our B-SAFE at Epiphany LEARN participants brightened up the day with their positive attitude and smiles. A day filled with clouds turned into a day full of splashing and joy.
By Jefferson Guerrero, Site Assistant for B-SAFE at Epiphany LEARN
Jefferson Guerrero, a life-long Dorchester resident, started attending B-SAFE at Epiphany YLC as a middle schooler back in 2012. He has returned each year to be part of B-SAFE, building relationships and connections that he expects will last a lifetime. This summer, Jefferson has an advanced leadership role as the Site Assistant for B-SAFE at Epiphany LEARN where he gets to lean into his commitment to community service and youth development. He is a recent graduate of Cristo Rey High School. In the fall, Jefferson will attend University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth where he plans to major in Criminal Justice.