Some feel good news for you!
Dominic here, I wanted to take a minute to shout at you about some of our upcoming winter programming opportunities and offer up a rare (but much needed) feel good story coming from our summer programs.
Let me lead off with the fact that, not unlike anyone else, we’ve definitely faced some operational challenges this summer. Im here to let you know that operating a paddle sports company through historic drought AND a pandemic can be done, but it ain’t easy! The silver lining was that most folks are looking for new ways to connect with the outdoors or re-connect with some of their favorite places to visit.
Regardless, the theme of 2020 is and continues to be, to get outside and distance yourself from others. We can proudly say that we have helped people of all ages and abilities do that very thing this past summer. Most importantly, even for a brief time, Outdoor New England was able to provide a little relief from reality and hopefully provide some mental clarity for our guests!
One of our long term relationships continues to be with the Franklin Parks & Recs program. A well run, organized program is a testament to its leadership and the Parks & Recs program here in Franklin is no different. We have worked with the youth of Franklin through this program since the start of ONE and this year we were able to expand on our offerings. I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time with a lot of the local youth both on Kayaks & Stand Up Paddle Boards in Webster Lake and in the trees on the Franklin School District’s - Low Ropes course. It was a real pleasure to form relationships with these kids and I really got to know a lot of them on a more personal level than if I had been a guide on a one-off activity.
One of our major goals in working with these youngsters was a focus on Social Emotional Learning. As you can imagine, most of the kids missed their friends and wanted to get back to some form of normalcy in their lives. However, I was especially taken-back to learn that nearly all of the personal and group goals they established revolved around respect, listening to others and team work. They had taken these values for granted in their daily lives before the early days of the pandemic.
These young Franklinites were frustrated with how the adults, on TV, in social media, and in their daily lives were handling social issues. Ultimately, these children were disappointed in the divisiveness they saw and felt all around them. It was a great pleasure to spend so much time with the youth of Franklin and if the work we did this summer is any indication of the future of the city of Franklin, I feel we’re all in good hands!