Give the best day ever
We've heard that sharing a story is the shortest distance between two people, so we are hoping this story makes you feel close to the work of Wilderness Youth Project.
You’re sitting in your fourth-grade classroom when your Wilderness Youth Project mentors Mario, Andrew, and Amanda arrive. Best day of the month! You excitedly run outside to gather with your friends and WYP mentors for morning circle. As you walk past the other classroom doors, children yell excited hellos at the mentors, fondly remembering their own experiences with Wilderness Youth Project.
Amanda starts the circle by pulling out a red shell as a talking piece that will travel around the circle. When the shell arrives in your hands, you share: My name is [insert your name]. I am grateful for [your answer] and my nature name today is [your answer]. (Take a moment to decide what gratitude and nature name you might actually share.)
And then you get your chance to ask about the talking piece: “Is it edible? Is this shell from a lobster?” You were close but your friend Thomas guesses correctly that the shell is from a crawfish. Even though it is late fall, Mario says that there is still water in the Santa Ynez River! Off to White Rock you go.
Piling out of the van, you find the big shade tree and drop off your backpacks. You have just arrived and you are already hungry, so you’re glad that Mario brought apples and spicy peanuts.
Snack break means time to look around. Are those birds’ nests clinging to the branches overhead? Some trees look like they’ve been run over by a truck. You notice sand and river rocks in funny places. Mario talks about the flooding at the beginning of the year… “Can you figure out how high the water rose?” You realize-- those aren’t birds’ nests up there! It’s debris that was left high in the tree from when water flowed several feet above where you are sitting right now.! This very spot was underwater in January!
You get to splash and play in the river. You notice plants, bugs, and tiny little fish swimming in the water. Your friend Sadie shows you how to make rock paint, and you cover your face with mud. You watch Maria conquer her fear and leap off a rock into the river that is so deep her feet don’t even touch the bottom.
Back at school, during Language Arts, your teacher writes action verbs on the white board-- a list from Andrew of what you did at the river: aim, drive, hop, limbo, stack, swirl, toss. You and your friends journal, create poems together, and learn new action verbs. After you finish writing about your day, you tell your teacher this was THE BEST DAY EVER!
Right now, I invite you to close your eyes and imagine a world where every child in the Santa Barbara area has the chance to experience these BEST DAYS EVER, has access to local parks, takes trips to the river, listens to birdsong on the street, and has a special tree they visit every day.
Will you contribute today?
Thanks to you, Bridge to Nature programs are fully subsidized. That means these “BEST DAY EVER” experiences are offered free of charge to partner elementary schools. We need your help to raise the $518,430 for scholarships.
Please donate today. When you make a donation today, you give the gifts of joy, awe, wonder, and curiosity. Investing in time in nature with caring mentors and peers means a smarter, healthier, happier future for children.
Yes! I want to give the gift that catches children's attention now and inspires them for years to come.
You can support us in many ways...
We can’t do it without you!
Your support allows us to continue to give out scholarships and fund community programs. We have faith that you and our community will come forward to make sure we can keep building wellness, curiosity, and connection.