Enjoying Florida's Beauty w/ Big Sister
Big Sister, Robin, and Little Sister, Madison, went on an amazing trip. Here are Robin's reflections on their time together:
My Little and I spent 36 hours together on the West Coast of Florida. She and I were matched 4 1/2 years ago and this was our first over night trip*.
Saying we had a wonderful time, not to mention the bonding that took place, is an understatement. We went non-stop every waking minute. I was afraid my Little would wear me out but actually I believe I wore her out!
We had a 3 hour ride to our destination which gave us lots of time to talk. And talk we did about everything!
After arriving, our first adventure was snorkeling in Manatee Springs. But first Madison baited a crab trap and put in the water hoping she would have crab to add to our supper.
Once at the springs, Madison commented on the beauty of the underwater rocks and the blue clear water. She and I both snorkeled, saw fish, and enjoyed the beauty of the springs. After our swim we walked down the boardwalk to the river and watched the Sturgeon jump.
We got back in time to cook supper, which was a seafood boil. And yes, Madison had one crab in her trap which we added to our shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn boil. Madison enjoyed the boil which was something she had never had before.... and we both liked the fact that the only dish to wash was the pot we boiled in.
Madison was anxious to catch more crabs and must have checked the trap 10 times before dark. And she did catch one more and one more the next morning. So twice we boiled crab.
That evening we took a walk and went to see the sunset. Madison took lots of pictures. By dark, we both were pretty tired but not too tired for Madison to teach me a new game called Mancala. But one game was enough for the two of us as we were both exhausted. I checked on Madison not too long after we said goodnight and she was already sound a sleep.
We got a early start the next morning and headed out with my kayak. We spent a few hours swimming and kayaking before lunch and packing up to head home. On our way back to St. Augustine, we wore our bathing suits and stopped at Fanning Springs State Park and, with mask in hand, went snorkeling at our second spring. This spring was full of big fish and lots of small shells. Madison collected 50 to take home.
At the end of the 36 hours, we were absolutely as close as sisters.... and Madison’s favorite adventure was snorkeling at Manatee. And so was mine.
Can hardly wait till next summer!
*Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County has specific overnight visit guidelines that coummunity-based matches are required to adhere to.
When talking with individuals who are interested in volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, many want to know if mentoring a child just one hour per week really makes a difference. My answer is always, "most definitely"! I am a Big Sister as well as the Program Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County and I've seen how much one person can impact a child in as little as one hour per week.
I mentor a little boy named Tomie. In just one hour, I connect with him. I give him my undivided attention, I do not judge him and I am authentic when I voice that I want him to achieve success in life. The connection blossoms when he becomes engaged in conversation and begins to let me into his world. The look in his eyes, when he realizes that I genuinely care about him, reminds me of how much I love working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and why mentoring is so important.
Mentoring is about relationships, connections and positive impact. Impact can appear in the form of a smile, increased confidence or excitement about a class assignment. In just one hour per week, we can give a child the confidence to overcome challenges, improve relationships and avoid risky behaviors. Working with and mentoring children bring such joy to my life. I want to share with others that, in just one hour, you can do some awesome things for our community. For more information, contact us by calling (904) 829-9986 or submitting a contact form. - Jaime David