by Grace Eggleston, Photography Intern
“Are you a Venture Outdoors lady too?” a little girl yelled as she ran up to me with a big smile. I had just arrived at the Phillips Recreation Center to help with a Youth Outreach Program, and the trip leaders were already setting up inside.
“Yes!” I responded as the girl grabbed my arm and showed me around the room. There were about ten kids, all under the age of eleven. There was a lot of energy in the room, and the outdoor fun hadn’t even started yet!
The day’s activity was a cleanup competition. To start, the trip leaders Maggie and Brittany organized the kids around a table to have a short conversation about sustainability. They thought about what “counts” as garbage, which things are safe to pick up off the ground, and why picking up trash is a great way to help the environment.
Then we headed outside and the excitement began! The kids split into two groups and everyone got a pair of gloves and a trash bag. It was boys vs. girls, and the competition was fierce. We explored the trails out back, cleaning the park and laughing as the boys’ team stuffed their bags full of leaves in an attempt to trick the judges.
Soon time was up and the leaders looked inside each team’s bags, deciding who would get the prize of Pirates themed tattoos and flags. After careful consideration the winner was… the girls’ team! It was a beautiful fall evening for the kids to explore and have fun outside after school while learning about the environment.