Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Friends

Last week was DinoMights’ annual Power Camp, our week long academic camp focusing on nutrition. Personally, I find this week incredibly stressful and I will openly admit that I am far greater at playing games and being active with kids than sitting them down and having them read and write and listen. For this, I admire all teachers out there. However, though stressful, there were moments this week that were encouraging and uplifting. One story, in particular, I am eager to share with you all.

Giselle is one of our middle school girls. She joined DinoMights last year as a Polar. Her mom would drive her and her brother to and from practice so her interactions with other fellow DinoMights and coaches were at the ice rink. Every early Wednesday morning I would find her standing next to her mom and I would say, “Good morning Giselle! How are you?” Her answer was often mouthing, “Good.” There may have been noise that came out, but not audible to the human ear. See, Giselle is painstakingly shy. One time I was in her elementary school with Eric and saw her helping out her teacher and I yelled, “Hey Giselle!!” She looked at me with a blank face. I was almost worried I had the wrong girl and asked Eric, “That is Giselle, right??” It was, and I’m sure some people can relate to that level of shyness. So you can imagine how difficult it may be for her to make friends when saying “hello” and “good” are difficult.
So throughout the season we were all waiting to see which group of friends she would find her niche with. But it never really happened...until this week. This week I noticed after being teamed up with two other girls for camp, Guadalupe and Jennifer, that she began sitting with them before we started camp and at the gathering time when we ended. On the last day we went to a water park. Jennifer and Guadalupe were girls I coached last year, so they often came up with Giselle to chat with me… and believe it or not… Giselle was the most chatty. From not really knowing what her voice sounded like to having my ear talked off (GLADLY!) was more than a huge step. And right as we were leaving for the day Guadalupe put her arm around Giselle and told me, “I’m bringing Giselle to the water park on Sunday.”
Giselle found her niche. She found her voice. She found her comfort here at DinoMights. These are the stories we cherish. We aim for Social Excellence by fostering a safe environment to make friends. This is one of those success stories.