Today I am honored to welcome back our weekly guest posts with Jennifer from the new (and thriving) blog, The Mommy Hiker. She touches on a topic that I haven’t manage to dive into very deeply yet (though I think it is very important.) What a great way to give back to the community AND get kids outside! As always, please feel free to leave Jennifer some love in the comments and check out her blog (linked in her bio below.)
Incorporating charity into my life has been a bit of a roller coaster. There have been years where I excelled and years where I completely fell flat, but since having my first daughter, it’s been an ever present thought in my mind. I believe, kids are never too young to start teaching the art of volunteering; learning important lessons of earth stewardship, instilling a child’s sense of community and reinforcing self-worth through helping others.
Since 1985, Heal The Bay, combined with their massive volunteer army, has fought to “make Southern California coastal water and watersheds, including the Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean.” They are also leaders in environmental advocacy, petitioning local, state and federal government and regulatory agencies to protect and preserve the beauty and health of Southern California’s natural resources.
I have volunteered for Heal The Bay’s Nothin’ But Sand Clean Up before and it’s always a great time! You simply fill out their single page waiver, they give you a bucket and gloves and off you go! Volunteers of all ages, from all over the city meticulously sift through sand, restoring it to its original exquisite elegance.
I thought, why not take full advantage of the fact that Vivi is 22 months and still thinks cleaning up is a fun game! Combine ‘The Cleanup Game’ with lunch at the beach and you have a volunteer experience I was certain she would enthusiastically participate in! So we slathered on the sunscreen, grabbed our sunhats, packed our lunch and headed towards the Pacific Ocean! So far, so good!
The day couldn’t have been more gorgeous! Finally at Venice Beach, we meandered over to the volunteer tent, as quickly as a toddler will allow given the temptation of sand at every step! We were given garden gloves and a bright blue bucket and we were on our way! So far, so good!
…and BAM! straight in front of us, Vivi’s eyes locked onto a bicycle, upside down in the sand and made a beeline for it! As she traversed the 20 feet, through the sand, towards the bike, she was joined by another toddler, 4 months her senior.
and there commenced a 20 minute exploration of spokes and chains, reflectors and pedals. A veritable wonderland! Cleanup? What cleanup?
I was prepared for this. I knew, realistically she would enjoy simply being out on the beach on a gorgeous Southern California day and have absolutely no comprehension of what her mom kept telling her about dirty beaches and the affect it has on marine life and I’m ok with that! I’ll keep talking to her about the importance of picking up after ourselves and I’ll keep bringing her along on many other adventures that will allow her to understand the significance her actions have upon the world. My hope is to make this a life-long commitment to engaging as a family, in our community.
So, here’s your challenge: pick a Saturday, gather your family, choose your passion and donate your time to making a difference!
Next month, our family will be planting fruit trees with Tree People!
I started The Mommy Hiker Blog in the hopes of inspiring other parents to get outdoors with their kids to explore and discover the wonder and beauty of Mother Nature and in doing so, I have inspired myself.