Imagine the joy to be able to leave your worries behind and escape to a different world, even for a day. Thanks to a generous donor, Canopy’s youth were able to experience a day of fun in the country.
While the day was hot, a nice breeze blew across the open fields in Flora. The fishing poles were prepared with bait and hooks, the horses were saddled, jump houses inflated and there was an endless supply of funnel cakes and snow cone waiting to be enjoyed. Under a white tent, a collection of animals including a camel, kangaroo, goats, and an alpaca were waiting to be loved. The stage was set for the kids to arrive.
More than 60 youth and chaperones loaded charter buses in the parking lot of Broadmoor Baptist church in Madison. (This experience alone was exciting as very few of the kids, if any, had seen a bus with bath facilities onboard.) The buses weaved through the countryside passing open fields, rolling hills and beautiful remote houses scattering the distance. When the buses turned into the farm where the event was held, the kids could barely hold in their excitement.
As the kids exited the buses, they were greeted by a special guest—Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who was later joined by his wife, First Lady Deborah Bryant.
Planned activities for the day included a dunking booth, craft station, petting zoo, fishing, horseback riding, jump houses, karaoke, and a photo booth. The kids, which included children from CARES Center as well as children involved in Canopy’s Therapeutic Foster Care Program, spent time with volunteers taking in each activity with joy and excitement.
“Many of these activities are a first for our kids,” said John D. Damon, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer for Canopy Children’s Solutions. “These experiences create powerful memories and elicit strong emotions in our kids. What is the most powerful is that the kids realize this is something put together by volunteers—people they’ve never met before—just for them. While it looks like fun, it is also very therapeutic and we are grateful to the organizers who made this possible for our kids. It is an experience they won’t forget.”
As the day wound to a close, the kids gathered under the large tent with snow cones and funnel cakes to watch a magic show..
“What a great experience!” said Caitlin Mudd, program director for CARES Center. “The kids have enjoyed their custom t-shirts and hats they were given and have asked several times when they could go back.”
Canopy is grateful to the donors and volunteers who helped make this event happen. Powerful partnerships with individuals and organizations give us the tools and opportunities to help children thrive.