By Shanice Lo, MD Middle School Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
On Saturday, October 28th, over 60 youth from across 4 middle schools and 4 high schools in Montgomery County attended the Annual Maryland Kick-off Picnic at Glenmont Local Park in Silver Spring. Before the picnic portion of the day, we took action to clean up the park itself, as it was National Make a Difference Day. It was a wonderful way to kick off the 2017-2018 AALEAD program year!
This year’s attendance was higher than previous years, given the warm weather. Youth enjoyed being outside and actively contributing to the community. During the clean-up, they collected items like used water bottles and broken glass. As usual, youth were excited about the more unusual types of trash that they found, such as doors and auto parts. Youth incorporated fun and so much laughter into learning about the importance of community service and recycling. Conducting an outdoor clean-up effort is always a good way to help youth realize the benefits of being kinder to the environment.
Youth enjoyed the kick-off picnic with lots of team-building games, face-painting, playing corn-hole, sports, card games and eating food together (something that youth enjoyed the most). The banana rally was the highlight of the day, and youth focused hard on winning the rally with their peers. We ended the event with laughter, excitement, and with bananas smashed all over our arms, feet, and faces.
We also hosted youth from our new after-school site, Kennedy High School. As new members of our AALEAD family, Kennedy youth said they felt welcomed, and saw AALEAD as an inclusive community.
We would like to express thanks to the AALEAD MD staff for planning this Kick-Off picnic, and to our AALEAD volunteers, whose help made this event run smoothly and successfully.
Our next post from Maryland will feature our Annual Winter Holiday Celebration and Talent Show in December. Please stay tuned!