"It keeps me from playing video games..." is how one youth in Laraway's Backpack Program explained his desire to attend a summer field trip to the Pump House Water Park at Jay Peak. Backpack coordinates a 5-week, multidisciplinary summer program encompassing academics, volunteerism and good old-fashioned fun in the sun activities. The trip to the water park has become a staple, a much-anticipated highlight of summer.
The trip is funded by a small fund allowing each and every youth at Laraway to apply for a $75 grant. The fund in generated by gifts from Laraway's generous donors. The grants most commonly cover recreational activities that help youth grow as individuals. Some youth apply for grants for basic needs such as clothing for a new job or outerwear when the weather chills.
It's a bit of a tradition for Backpack youth to apply for a grant for the water park trip en masse --- all together ---- and to take the day trip together, accompanied by Laraway staff.
A quick review of the youthful applications reveals the former "reasons" stated for their water park requests. One of our younger Backpackers opted to draw a picture (see above) to make her case for the grant.
- "Going to Jay Peak helps me be part of the group"
- "I like the bus ride because I can sit with friends"
- "This will help me by meeting new people and making new friends"
- "It's a good place to go to get away from the stresses in my life"
- "It will help me try new things"
- "It will give memories of having fun"
- "I don't really get out of the house a lot, except when I'm with Laraway"