Outdoor leader, Cory Dack shares her Canoemobile story.
“This photo captures one of my favorite moments of the entire Canoemobile week.
I had just yelled, “First and second graders get to go canoeing first! If you’re coming canoeing right now, follow me over here!” Then a little boy broke away from the circle and RAN to me, IMMEDIATELY threw his arms around me and hugged me with all of his little-love-might. His hug set a precedent and all of the other kids followed suit. They were all hugging me so hard, and more and more of them latched on to me that they almost knocked me over. It was such a massive, completely impromptu show of the type of unconditional love that children have radiating from within.
They didn’t know me. They knew that they wanted to love and they wanted to be loved, and this was the way they showed it. It brought tears to my eyes in the best possible way️.
To add to the tears, one of the adults had told me that morning that a lot of the kids we were with that week come from very challenging home situations, and many of these kids weren’t eating or sleeping at home because of it. I knew that the first boy who ran to me was one of these kids. Of course all he wanted was to love and be loved!
One of the teachers initially tried to tell him to let go, and to be mindful of boundaries, but I assured them that I was comfortable giving and getting hugs. I told them that I think our jobs are so much bigger than simply giving kids canoe rides. For some of these kids, the love we give them is the most love they’ll get all day. What an honor to be able to take part in something so sacred, special, and important.
If, at the end of the day, even one kid feels loved, truly loved, then all of the long days and all of the miles we log are so completely, utterly worth it.”
Special thanks to RBC Wealth Management-U.S. for their support of Canoemobile.
Photo by Julia Schweitzer