Posted: March 3, 2016

Last week we had the privilege of engaging with some of the youngest community members in Bocas! As an elementary education major, I was so excited because Field Day was a chance to step into my comfort zone and meet and interact with some very special kids. This event was an opportunity to have the kids show us part of their Bocas world and also, for kids just to be kids and to have fun. Events like Field Day are valuable because they show us some of the faces that make up the diverse Bocas community.

On Field Day, the SFS students broke up into groups and led a variety of games and races that all incorporated an environmental education theme—from how to recycle different materials to how to prepare for a snorkel to making a dinner plates for different sea creatures like sea turtles, octopus, and jellyfish.

A few of my peers and I ran the Snorkel Relay race in which they had to run across the room, get fully dressed in a snorkel, wetsuit, and fins, take it all off, and then run back to tag their partners. Trying to explain the game with our broken Spanish was interesting to say the least, but practicing Spanish with kids was actually less daunting then conversing with adults. We quickly learned that demonstration was key and the kids thought our struggle to squeeze into small snorkel gear was absolutely hilarious. But we got a good laugh as well when the kids barely filled half of a wetsuit.

So far, the kids here have taught me a lot about family, community, and finding joy and entertainment in everyday situations. Like many of the children I have worked with at camps or in school, the children of Bocas can make a game out of almost anything. They also seem to have very close ties with friends and family, traveling in packs and holding hands with their siblings. Like most people I have met in this beautiful and lively town, the kids here have offered me a new perspective on life while at the same time making me feel welcome and at home.

→ Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies in Panama