For fourteen children and young people of our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, summer fun and learning began last Friday at the Shell Factory Zoo and Nature Park after lunch at McDonalds. They were accompanied by the two Pastors Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee, Roman Catholic women priests, and Linda Maybin, parent Assistant. Efe Cudjoe, our youth minister and Natasha Terrell her assistant guided and kept the group together as they explored animals and their habitats and birds in a walk-in Aviary. Later they enjoyed an inside Arcade and had snow cones. The Bumper boat rides were closed as the water level was not high enough to keep them afloat so the snow cones helped to cool them off.
Here group members enjoy an ancient Fire Truck that they were able to climb on and other exhibits of life long ago before entering the zoo.
They loved feeding the turtles and Koi that practically jumped out of the water to get the food.
Watching the land turtles eat salad and feeding the baby goats captivated them.
The giant tortoises, lizards, and peacocks were a big hit. The peacocks had a particular scream that the kids imitated causing quite a bit of interest from the birds.
Watching the Zebra, a huge camel and a giant cow held interest for quite a while.
And then there were the birds! The cockatoos were the biggest hit as they would sit on an arm or shoulder and eat out of a hand. At first the kids were terrified of them, then slowly each one fed them and hosted them as we modeled how to hold them. Soon the older kids were teaching the younger ones the joys of feeding birds.
At the end of the day, there were peals of laughter as the kids saw themselves elongated and foreshortened in the Carnival mirrors in the Arcade area. Competence at the Arcade games also brought great joy and even a few rewards.
We are so thankful for the generosity of our donors who make this summer fun and learning possible. When we think about what many of these kids went through this year their laughter and joy is all the more precious. They are now deciding where their second trip will be. We will keep you posted!
With love and thanks,
Pastor Judy and the Good shepherd Youth