Our Group of Seventeen at Tarpon Bay Nature Preserve on Sanibel Island
There is nothing like a dip in cool water on a hot day. Our last two outings, on 7/24 and 8/1/2014 were to the water. We have some great water parks in the greater Fort Myers area, like Sunsplash where ten of our young people aged 7-22, spent the day floating in tubes and sliding through huge tubes into the water last Thursday, July 24th.
Jolinda, Keeondra, Marcella, Joelle and Keion at Sunsplash
And, learning about the other creatures who live in the water, in Tarpon Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico off of Sanibel Island makes for a thoroughly exciting day.
Keeron, Jerry,Marcella, Aleigha and Gaspare at Touch Tank
Today, August 1,2014, thirteen of our young people, from ages 7-26 and two parents and Good Shepherd’s two Pastors, Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee went to Tarpon Bay Preserve in Sanibel. First they attended a literal hands- on session where the young docent and guide taught us about oysters and shrimp, hermit crabs,horseshoe crabs and a variety of mollusks. The kids were able to gently lift these up and interact with them. The awe and joy this produced no matter what age they were, was a moment with Creator God and we reflected on that.
Jakeriya, Keeondra, Jolinda, Jakein, Keion and Paarents, Linda and Debbie watch the crabs and shrimp
Marcella, Gaspare, Aleigha, Efe, Joelle, Keeondra, Keeron and Natasha
A Hermit Crab Emerging
Then we took a boat ride in the bay where we spotted manatees and dolphins. This pontoon boat ride was the first boat ride most of the kids ever had. They loved it. They saw pelican roosts and beautiful birds. Their eyes were glued to the water waiting to see dolphin and manatees. Keion, age 12, had the greatest widsom: “have patience” ,he said, “they are here and they will show themselves if you are patient!” And he was right. Who would have ever thought Keion would know this and guide us in this way. Keeron knew that Manatee were called sea cows and Natasha spotted the first dolphins. Jolinda wanted to see more than the big dorsal fin and back but we were happy to know they were circling us.
Pastor Judy Lee and Natasha, Keeondra and Jakeriya on the Boat
Debbie and her daughter Joelle and Jolinda and Keeondra
Keeron Spotting Manatee
Jakein Swimming to Shore
Our Mermaids, Joelle Aleigha, Marcella and Jakeriya
After our time on the water in the boat we drove about ten minutes to the beach and several of the kids loved swimming in the gulf. The others looked for shells and waded in the water with Pastor Judy Lee. We were all happy with out day at the sea. Our adventure ended at McDonalds where we began to plan our next trip. Stay tuned for that one!
Pastor Judy Beaumont and Youth Leader Efe Jane CudjoeFor Pastor Judy Beaumont and I this was a wonderful way to spend our 25th Anniversary-with our children at the sea! Thanks be to God!Pastor Judy Lee,RCWP Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers,Florida