On April 13, one of our after school mentoring groups took a field trip out to Warren Wilson College! Thanks to a long-standing partnership with WWC, all of the mentors in this particular group are Warren Wilson students—and they were super happy to have the opportunity to show the Littles their stomping grounds…
This particular group meets with their WWC mentors at an after school site in the city, so for city kids, a trip to the farm college was an exciting adventure. For several of the kids, it was their first time up close and personal with horses, chickens and pigs.
The horse crew at WWC introduced them to Doc and Dan (the horses), then invited the kids to groom them while they explained the basics of harnessing horses to the wagon.
“We were able to introduce the kids to the grooming and daily upkeep of the work horses on our farm,” says one of the group’s Big Sisters, Zoe. “Our horse crew taught them the commands they use when directing horses and the importance of the safety of the horses—because they can become very timid and skittish after a long week of working in the fields plowing and pulling heavy loads!”
Once the horses were hooked up and the group had had plenty of time to learn about how to act around the animals and the basics of communicating and taking care of them—they all piled in the wagon for a wagon ride around campus. The wagon ride took the group around the farm and through pastures where pigs were napping in the sun. As they visited each pasture, the students took a moment to explain just how each one was used.
The trip to WWC was a great chance for mentors to share with their Littles what was important to them and show them how they are applying themselves int he world and give them a glimpse into the world of higher education. Simply being on a college campus for a child gives them a tangible image and idea of how college works and what one looks like rather than is just remaining an abstract concept. As the group experienced the plethora of scenic views on the wagon ride, one young man was overheard saying that he wanted to attend Warren Wilson college when he grew up!
“This field trip helped build better relationships between ourselves and the Littles because it took us all out of our comfort zones, and helped us put trust in each other,” says Zoe. “We had to trust the kids to respect and abide by the rules of our space and to learn and participate, and they had to put their trust in us to keep them safe and secure in a very new place in brand new situations.”
Everyone agrees that the highlight of the trip was the wagon ride. The mentors describe that during the experience, the kids all became very attentive and joyful (albeit some were a bit trepidatious as it was all so novel.)
“When we went back to the center after the field trip[, the kids clearly held more more trust and respect in us than we had ever seen,” says Zoe. “We’re constantly striving to better our relationships with them and it was proven through their behavior just how important it is to have responsible, nurturing and compassionate mentors—especially in adolescents.”