The Summer Day Camp Kids at HFH family residences stayed busy this summer as they set out to experience the world through excursions, from defying gravity at Sky Zone Trampoline Park to fully immersing themselves in the world of ice cream at the Ice Cream Museum. Apart from being away for the kids to let loose, these adventures exposed them to new opportunities.

“We asked the kids, ‘What ignites hope?’ and one of the responses was ‘exposure and experiences,’” said Director of Afterschool and Recreation at Saratoga Family Residence Michael Chapman. “That’s the thing about field trips, it exposes them to different situations and different experiences that they might not get on a regular basis.”

For one budding gymnast, a field trip to Sky Zone—a fun way for the kids to stay active while keeping cool indoors during the heat of summer—was just that.

“We had one individual who never really experienced jumping on a trampoline,” said Michael. “Where most people were excited about different things, he was stuck on that trampoline, just enjoying having that physical freedom. For him to experience that, I think, ignited something in him.”

Michael emphasized the importance of field trips as a space for the kids at our family residences to be carefree, laugh, and enjoy themselves. In one of their daily town hall meetings, they discussed goals for the upcoming school year and what success looks like. One child described success to her as waking up in the morning and seeing that her mother is not stressed.

“There is so much weight on them,” said Michael. “So just for kids to get out and have fun, I think is very powerful. A joyful experience can make them say ‘I want more of that’ and ask themselves ‘What do I need to do to be able to get more of that?’ It ultimately teaches life skills.”

The kids in Allie’s Place Summer Day Camp took a trip to Dave & Buster’s for a special afternoon of arcade excitement. The kids had a blast competing in arcade games while sporting matching Allie’s Gators T-shirts. A few weeks later, the kids took an outing to the American Museum of Natural History where they explored exhibits including the Invisible World —an immersive experience where the kids learned about the interconnectedness and expansiveness of our planet.

“It’s important to bring kids on field trips in order to expose them to the world outside of the five-block radius that they know,” said Education Specialist at Allie’s Place Family Residence Kenneth Hernandez. “Trips help to foster children’s imaginations and futures. We never know the impact it might have. One child might see the dinosaur fossils and think to themselves, ‘Wow! I want to know more! I want to study that when I grow up!’”

The Prospect Panthers had a sweet summer with field trips to the Ice Cream Museum—where the kids learned about the history of ice cream through interactive activities—and Cricket’s Candy Creations—where they harnessed their creativity to make their own colorful concoctions, including artful paintings on edible paper.

“The trip was filled with laughter and excitement until the very end,” said Francheska Rodriguez, Assistant Teacher at Prospect Family Residence. “Memories like these are important to their development, especially as they are going through adversity. It is a blessing to be able to expose [them] to these kinds of experiences.”

In case an afternoon in the candy lab wasn’t enough to wear them out, the kids finished out the day with a dance party. When asked about their favorite part, the answer was unanimous: eating the candy.

This past summer’s excursions gave the kids moments of pure joy and inspiration for them to carry with them as they head back to school—we are looking forward to the adventures that await them in the classroom!

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