On Saturday, May, 5, we went on our first outing with participants from our partner organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters. The activity for the outing was indoor rock climbing at Rock Spot in South Boston. The group consisted of four Big/Little matches, one EY volunteer, Nick, and one EY instructor, Annie.
Once everyone arrived, we all circled up in the gym’s yoga studio to learn each other's names, talk about safety and gym rules, and grab our gear. With our harnesses on, we shuffled to the gym in our socks to where our climbing shoes awaited. Once we were fully geared up, Journey - our Rock Spot guide - led us over to the climbing wall so we could watch her demonstrate how to clip into the auto belay system. After the intro, we were free to climb!
We all stayed in the same general area so that we could climb together and cheer one another on. Janelle (Big) and her Little, Belle, had both never climbed before, so it was fun to see them trying something new and improving together throughout the day. Maggie (Big) had been climbing a few times with her Little, Destiny, so they were challenging themselves to some harder routes, racing up the walls right next to each other. It was great to see Bigs giving instruction and encouragement to all the Littles, not just their own.
After about an hour, everyone took off their harnesses and we switched to bouldering. With a short introduction, we split the group into two for some friendly competition. The game required a lot of strategy and teamwork, and it really got the matches to intermingle and work with each other. Not only were the kids having a blast and enjoying the challenge, the mentors were also super engaged in the game. The day really came together as 4 individual matches blended into one large group.
This first outing with Big Brothers Big Sisters was a great example of what Elevate Youth is hoping to do for the organization, which is to take matches on outings to foster the existing bond between Big and Little, but also help to create new relationships among matches; giving Bigs the chance to socialize with other Bigs, and Littles the chance to meet other Littles. It also gives Littles the chance to see that there are other positive adult role models that they can count on for support and inspiration.
This was an excellent first experience because of the excited, energetic, and positive Bigs and Littles who were all happy to be on the trip. The group had a wonderful dynamic, and I hope that the friendships created on Saturday continue to grow through consistent outings in the future.