A Letter to WILD CHILD

From the very beginning to the very end, my time at Wild Child has simply been beyond anything I could ever possibly imagine. I was greeted with nothing but open arms and positivity by all of those involved during my short tenure this summer and developed lasting connections with many amazing people along the way.

As it is worth noting, it has been amazing to see nothing but hardworking and dedicated women involved throughout Childreach and Wild Child. I have taken special notice to it as have many children involved in Wild Child as they see intelligent and passionate women like Tandy and Lotus lead the way to exploring the outdoors. And there is no doubt as I have observed countless times as the children’s eyes light up with amazement when Tandy and Lotus climb a tall tree or share a neat fact about an interesting looking plant that the children, and specifically the girls, watch and think: “Hey, if they can do/learn it, so can I!”

Furthermore, as someone who comes from no formal early child education training, I have learned so much from the facilitators, parents, and mostly the children themselves. It has been incredible to follow along the children’s journeys. I witnessed children being cautious to explore in the mud or letting snails crawl along their fingers to them each week building the confidence to then roll around in the mud without a care in the world to catching everything under the sun; from frogs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, toads and even snakes! It has been amazing to see their progression first-hand and for them to show me how smart, kind and caring they are in this setting has been so lovely.

Additionally, I have to thank the parents, grandmas and grandpas and caregivers that take their children to Wild Child. In this day and age, children spending time outdoors has sadly become rare. There’s no secret the numerous benefits that the outdoors behold on everyone, especially children. Less screen time and more real time lead to children to become more confident, less likely to develop mental-health issues, and more aware of human impact on the environment.; which in turn allows them to progress as well-developed humans in this world. Therefore, credit must be given to them when their children are constantly complimented on how fantastic they are!

Lastly, a major thanks goes Childreach for allowing me to be myself with the children and Wild Child program as a whole. At no point was I instructed or forced to act a certain way or to meet certain ideological goals. And the goal at Wild Child has never been to turn children into environmental scientists, horticulturalists, ornithologists etc.; the goal is to give them the confidence to explore the outdoors and become aware of the environment to then use this knowledge however they please. Therefore, it was an absolutely blast for me to act like goofball with the kids, sneak in my lame jokes every once in a while, and try my best to make the children laugh while exploring the great outdoors with them.

What can I say, but simply thank you, for I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.

Written by Harrison Priebe, WILD CHILD Volunteer