Adventure is U.P. There
Adventure often occurs close to home for kid’s at St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ (STVCC) Children’s Home. But for one week every summer, the kids in Minerva get to experience an adventure in the U.P.
There is something very human about the need to escape. And when you grow up in Michigan, that most often takes the form of camping with your family, as evident by the heavy traffic on Northbound US-127 towards the end of every week. But what if that memory is as foreign to you as the Mongolian Steppe, or the philosophy of Albert Camus; something you can appreciate from the glow of your computer screen, but not something with any inherent meaning to you. What if you never had the chance to take part in a purely Michigan experience?
For the vast majority of the children at the Children’s Home, this is all-too-often their reality. And, for the staff that work diligently with them, there is only one solution: you take them camping. So every summer, each unit within the Children’s Home escapes from their daily routine to camp. For the 2nd year in a row, the staff for Minerva has travelled to the Great North Woods of the Upper Peninsula. This year, however, they decided on a slight detour before crossing the Mackinac Bridge. The entire group would travel back in time to when you dressed up for every meal, and horse-drawn carriages lined the streets. They went, of course, to Mackinac Island.
An adventure with Food and Chess
The journey to the island wasn’t purely a sight-seeing venture, however. We had a special mission. And so, with everyone donning their Sunday best, we disembarked the ferry and walked towards the Grand Hotel. Thanks to a very generous member of the team, we were treated to a lunch buffet. For the children, they viewed the buffet almost as a challenge to see how much they could eat while retaining a high standard of table manners. Of course, they did not disappoint, and they enjoyed themselves more than anyone could have hoped. And so, with delightfully full bellies, we enjoyed the sun on the porch, played life-size chess, and marveled at the
gorgeous views. When it was time to leave, we all slowly walked back to the ferry to continue on our journey across the bridge, where more adventures awaited.
At the Children’s Home the staff understand the importance of these trips to allow the kids to see past their own front door. Adventuring on Mackinaw Island and exploring the woods allowed the children with the freedom to act like kids. Without the ability to explore the world, it’s easy to feel confined by daily activities and responsibilities. Experiencing the beauty of the world can open children’s minds to the possibilities of a brighter future and the knowledge that their community stretches beyond the front doors of our Children’s Home.