by Trillium Swanson
Mentor and Volunteer Coordinator at The Funhouse Commons
Mentors and mentees from across the San Juans joined together at Camp Orkila on Saturday, April 14 for the first ever county-wide mentoring event.
Twenty-two matches from Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands participated in a fun-filled morning of activities sponsored by the YMCA. In spring of 2017, this event was offered to The Funhouse Commons for the first time. This year, I, along with Assistant Director of Outdoor Environmental Education Sara Matovina, extended an invitation for “Mentor Funday” to the mentor programs on Lopez and San Juan. Afterward, many participated in Camp Orkila’s Spring ROAR obstacle course.
“I think the mentor programs on all the islands are super valuable to the communities they serve,” said Matovina. “Hosting days like ‘Funday’ is a really easy way for camp to provide fun new adventures for mentors and mentees to do together.”
Upon arrival, many mentees and mentors headed straight to the zip-line, where YMCA staff were waiting to help them suit up and get flying. Others made a beeline to the water, where they rowed together to Freeman Island.
“My favorite thing was going in circles and circles in the rowboat because we had a hard time rowing,” said a mentee. “After, I got my face painted.”
Mentors took significant time out of their weekend to come to this event. Paul Lewis, a mentor on Lopez Island, explained why: “Speaking for myself and I think for other mentors on Lopez, we really like to see these kids having fun. When I saw one of my fellow mentors’ mentee dive head-first into muddy water before climbing out of the mud canal laughing, I knew that every second of my time was worth it. Plus, we love getting off our own rock to do something new.”
An Orcas mentor, Sally Hodson, said: “I really enjoyed having fun with my mentee as we stretched our wings to try some new experiences, learned more about each other and got to know other mentors and mentees.”
Activities didn’t end at ziplining and rowing; mentors and mentees practiced archery and marksmanship together, did arts and crafts, played basketball and explored the Marine Salmon Center.
“I learned how to make a friendship bracelet!” said a mentee.
All agreed that one thing lacking from the day was time.
“Orkila is big, and we didn’t get to all the places we wanted to. We’ll try for them next year!” said Orcas mentor Leah Cardinell.
For more information about getting involved as a mentor or volunteer at the Funhouse, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-376-7177 ext 105.