Wild Child field trips are a partnership of Heart-J Center and Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County, giving kids ages 5 to 12 the chance to explore nature, experiment with art, and enjoy being outdoors. Since July 2014, the wild children have gone on wildlife hikes, spent time in the lodge with Gray Wolf, worked on teambuilding and confidence at the challenge course, learned about survival skills, solar energy and geology, and had the chance to get outside and explore with unstructured adventure time.
On a perfectly windy day in April, ten kids came to Sylvan Dale to learn the science of weather. The kids were given an assortment of supplies – paper cups, straws, tape, and fasteners – to design and build anemometers.
Eight-year-old Jack carefully cut his paper cup into spokes reminiscent of a windmill. Sadly, the breeze that day was too strong for his meter and it blew apart. He smashed the pieces into the trashcan and sat in silent frustration while the other kids shared their designs and tested them against the wind.
We encouraged Jack to leave the setback behind and try the second project: making a windsock from paper, streamers, yarn, and a stick. At first the dejection lingered, but his mood perked up with the choice of Denver Broncos’-colored orange and blue streamers. Within minutes he had succeeded with his creation and used his new windsock to experiment with the changing wind speed and direction.
As the students gathered to get back on the bus, Jack stopped to say goodbye. “Thank you for this amazing experience. I had so much fun!” Then he happily ran off to the bus with his windsock streaming behind him.
The monthly Wild Child program helps kids like Jack learn that they are smart, strong, resilient, curious, resourceful, and connected ~ to each other, to the community, to history, and to nature.