This blog tells the story of the River Stewards at the University of Dayton. For more information about the River Stewards program or the Rivers Institute, please visit our website at http://rivers.udayton.edu.
I spy something with my
little eye and it looks a lot like kids learning their multiplication tables. I
spy boys and girls eagerly raising their hands to be picked to clean the dinner
tables. I spy them helping each other stack chairs at the end of the night. And
most of all, I spy an infinite amount of laughter. I spy Adventure Central.
This after school program is unlike anything I’ve known before. Kids come here to
not only learn about rivers, creeks, plants, and the environment, but are also
aided with their homework. Adventure Central allows them to begin to see their
worth. Being a kid is tough, and it’s not acknowledged enough how great of an
impact the environment has on the adult a child eventually grows into. Adventure
Central is an environment that sees the fiery passions that children develop so
easily and embraces them for it, helping to spread the love to everyone.
My first night at
Adventure Central I watched a very discouraged little girl, who had fallen
behind in school, catch up on homework. After she put her things away, she sat
with a little smile on her face clearly proud of the work she had accomplished.
Without Adventure Central, who would have helped her catch up? When would she
have found the time? It’s hard to say. However, she grew just a little bit that
night and more importantly, she began to believe in herself. Maybe it was the
first time or maybe the first time in a long time. Either way, it was a step in
the right direction. It is a direction that will show her that she can do
anything she sets her mind to and that by continuing to try, she can go further
than she ever thought possible.
Whenever I leave Adventure
Central, I am eager to return. I want to see what these kids can discover about
themselves and their untapped potential. I want to see them grow, and, with the
help of people that care, every one of them will grow. It’s easy to become
discouraged by the direction our planet and quality of life are heading, but these
kids give me hope. They will not be the same generation as the one preceding. They
will not ignore the problems ultimately hurting us, and they will not let hate
defeat them. When I look at these kids, and the opportunities Adventure Central
is giving them, I can’t help but to spy a brighter future.