This past week I traveled to Washington DC with the Shot@Life Champions, a group of advocates working with the UN Foundation to promote access to life saving vaccines for children worldwide. It’s a simple goal, and you will hear far more from me about it over the coming months.
But what I want to write about today, is Field Trips.
There are so many reasons I look back on the field trip days of my youth fondly. For starters, there was no homework due on a field trip day. If school sometimes felt like a prison, the field trip day was the day you got sprung! You got to ride on a charter bus or in a stranger’s car. But it wasn’t all fun and games, of course. Your mealtimes may have been disrupted and you might have been challenged to act or think in unfamiliar ways or view something a little disturbing. Some tidbit of reality that hadn’t been aired in the close space of your everyday classroom life.
Sometimes you made new friends on field trips, or found new depths in the friends you thought you already knew. The best field trips didn’t just take you to a a museum and dump you on a rote tour. The best ones had you suit up and get your hands dirty.
For my kids this has meant panning for gold, diving into the ocean from the deck of a sailboat, working in soup kitchens and feeding wounded marine mammals.
When my kids come home from a field trip day they are ripe with the possibilities of life. Things they simply hadn’t considered before. More. This is how I feel coming back from DC. It was an awesome field trip and highlights my belief that we all need field trips in our lives, opportunities to do things outside of the ordinary for ourselves, and for the world. It makes us better citizens, more creative thinkers and, I truly believe, happier.
While in DC I received advocacy training and spent a day lobbying on Capitol Hill.
I would have told you that this is completely, totally not my thing, not something I could imaging myself doing. But now that I have, I am so glad that I did. Will I pursue a career in lobbying? Highly unlikely. But by suiting up and trying it out, I have a better idea of the world I live in and a new understanding of how things work and the role I play. It’s empowering enough that I’m already thinking about ways to send my daughter’s to Capitol Hill, if only for a day, as well.
Toss in some media training, a panel with world renowned pediatricians discussing global children’s health (and last time I checked, global included my children as well) and a chance to riff on non profit marketing and outreach solutions with a room full of great minds and I tell you, I feel I’ve come home with pockets full of gold. My panning has paid off.
I made new friends on my field trip. I blew off some homework. I wore myself out a little. But I am grateful for the opportunity. Being a blogger has made a hundred field trips possible for me. Some, like this one, truly impactful. It hasn’t made me rich, famous, or powerful, but the field trips are magnificent.
So if you ask me why I blog? I might just answer “The Field Trips”.
Disclosure: This “field trip” was sponsored by the UN Foundation’s Shot at Life Campaign, for which I am a Champion. Look for more posts from me about Shot At Life from me over the coming months. I’m very excited to share this campaign with my readers and hope that some of you will join me in giving children everywhere the shots they deserve. I wish I could have brought you all with me to DC to hear the compelling stories and statistics that I heard.