Some of you may not know that not only does FLOC have youth afterschool programming in DC, but also in Jefferson County, WV, located just across the Virginia line at the southern tip of the eastern panhandle. FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center staff facilitate a variety of outdoor and team-building programs as well as host the DC and WV youth during their FLOC summer camps.
The OEC’s after school program, hosted in two local middle schools, is called Leaders in Action. This year’s program started out with a Civic Engagement and Community Outreach Unit. Just by being part of the program the students get to visit local farms, work on crafts for other local non-profit events, and do clean-ups at county parks. The hope and intention is that through these activities the students gain a greater appreciation for the people, businesses, and resources in their very own community and learn to see themselves as an important part of that whole.
Every fall in Shepherdstown, WV, the Freedom’s Run happens, giving our Leaders in Action kids a great opportunity to help out and be a part of the largest race event in WV. As part of the course support for the 10k, the kids this year filled and handed out cups of water, directed the runners through a number of different turns along the course, and cheered on the hundreds who participated in this year’s event. The runners always appreciate the team of helpful volunteers and it’s all for a great cause. The Freedom’s Run Community Grant Fund goes to support school programs, health initiatives, and the building of trail systems throughout the area and it’s all for the greater health of the community at large.
After the last runner had come through, the kids created their own challenge by stacking the unused cups. Sometimes even the value and impact of volunteerism can be learned by just getting engaged and having fun. Great job to our kids and the Freedom’s Run runners.
(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV)