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“On the road again . . .” Taking Our Kids Out of Their Comfort Zones, and Expanding Their Horizons

Can you imagine ... living in a world of only a few square blocks? It would feel tiny. Not enough adventure or opportunity. It would be difficult to dream big for yourself, let alone actually experience the vastness and beauty in the world just waiting to be discovered!

Too many kids at A Place Called Home rarely get to experience the world outside of South Central. That’s why we’re committed to expanding the horizons of our boys and girls through field trips.

Blowing the borders off

Marcee Dela Cruz, our Teen and Young Adult Services Lead, shares:

“Field trips are a way for our young people to get outside of their comfort zone. Field trips give them a better view of the world around them so they can understand who they are and dream bigger for the future. Our field trips provide exposure and inspire our kids to aspire to better lives.”

Three pillars of our field trips

We regularly take our teens and young adults on field trips to support their social and emotional growth — and prepare them for success as adults.

We believe the world is a classroom. Here are the pillars that support our field trip programs:

  • Academic rigor: Education is the ladder to a better future. Our teens preparing for college visit colleges and universities year round, and in the spring, we take them on a four-day trip to seven universities in Northern CA.

  • Life skills and independent living skills: In partnership with the Rotary Club, each year we send two students to study abroad, living with host families, learning new languages, and immersing in different cultures.

  • Exploring L.A.: This is about exposure to the multiple cultures existing right here in L.A. For eight weeks during the summer, it’s nonstop exploration using public transportation ... and our feet.

Are field trips really THAT important?

You might be wondering, “Are field trips really THAT important?” Marcee thinks so (and we agree).

Here’s a story Marcee recently shared:

“Some of our members are really interested in Japanese culture. So we planned an Exploring L.A. afternoon field trip to Little Tokyo with a group of 12 members. We did two activities to help the kids step out of their comfort zones and expand their worldview. We split them into four groups and gave each young person $5 and they got 10 minutes to spend their $5 at a Japanese supermarket.

“We encouraged them to get things they’d never tried or seen — even if it looked unusual. Then we all sat together to share the snacks they had purchased. The kids still talk about that day and how much they loved it. Now they go down to Little Tokyo and eat those same snacks, and they bring their friends on Little Tokyo exploration days. Life changing.”

What happens when you leave your comfort zone?

If you never leave your comfort zone, you miss out on massive opportunities for growth. You miss out on developing self-confidence and exercising your curiosity muscles.

That’s what our field trips are all about. We want our kids to know they are capable of seeing beyond their neighborhood to a big, wide world of diversity and opportunity.

When they overcome a fear, when they meet a challenge, when they experience a success they never thought possible ... there’s a spark that ignites and it leads to more creative exploration and discovery; more courage, tenacity, and the desire to dream bigger, live fuller, and experience life more deeply. Those feelings are what keep our kids getting on the APCH field trip bus again and again.

If you haven’t already (and you really should), check out more of our work at A Place Called Home.

 

 

Journey and Girl Power