How might we Make Andy Proud by instilling a love of place and curiosity about the Boise Foothills in second graders?
The One Stone team took on a doubly heart melting challenge in this call to be inspired by a beloved One Stone Champion and parent, Andy Simonds. Andy had a love of the outdoors and shared that love with others. In recognition of his legacy, we wanted to develop a project that would bring this kind of love of the outdoors to kids who might not have the opportunity to explore the wonders of Boise. Working with a class of second grade kids at White Pine Elementary, One Stone students dove deep into empathy work to build a project that instilled in kids pride in their city’s backyard, and kept true to Andy and the Simonds Family.
Make Andy Proud (M.A.P.) partnered with the Boise Foothills Learning Center to provide 24 second graders with a day full of learning, exploration, and fun. The second grade students paired up with a One Stone guide as a mentor and friend. Guides and buddies learned from each other about what makes the Boise Foothills special. Buddies and their One Stone guides learned about special habitats in the Boise Foothills, played games related to predator/prey relationships, went on a hike along a ridgeline, shared stories about being outside, and sung songs about animals. Buddies and guides painted three birdhouses; one to live at the Foothills Learning Center, one for the new garden at White Pine Elementary School, and one for the Simonds’ home. M.A.P. also painted a banner to remain at the Foothills Learning Center with the leave-no-trace slogan “Leave only footprints” by painting boots and making the foothills out of boot prints.
One Stone’s M.A.P. planning team took care to infuse joy in every aspect of M.A.P. The day was ended by a spectacular pass-over by a red tailed hawk (with a snake in its mouth!), capping of a wonderful day filled with inspiring natural beauty and connections.
The day of the M.A.P. project was a great success. The goal of engaging second graders with the natural environment was an instant hit. Buddies were engaged with their guides and with the space around them. Each One Stone guide wrote a letter to his or her buddy in a bird guide book to inspire further curiosity in the outdoors. The project held huge meaning for the planning team.
From the One Stone M.A.P. planning team:
“I wish that everyone could have the opportunity to see the excitement and wonder of nature through the eyes of a little kid. It was magical”- Jessie
“It was a wonderful experience to get to share my passion of the outdoors with a second grade class that was so excited about learning everything.”- Kelli
“Honoring the Simonds Family while introducing young minds to the joys of nature, it couldn’t have been better.”- Simone
“It was an unforgettable way to inspire kids while at the same time remembering Andy and his love of the outdoors.”- Olivia
And from the Thank You notes sent by the second graders:
“You are the best buddy in the universe!!”- Djuliann
“I like when we went hiking.”- Varshan
“I had a wonderful time. I saw a bee hive and a bunny and a deer and a fish and I like the picture you drew me.” – Marlo
“I had a blast, I liked painting birdhouses and playing games and going on the hike.”- Brenon
“I like the games and songs. I had fun. I hope I get to see you again.”- Katie