On Saturday March 17th we had the opportunity to co-sponsor our first match event of the year with SWAN (Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network). This Philadelphia-based match event focused on older children (10+). We returned to beautiful Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies for an eventful day. We had a wonderful turnout of children and families. Most of the youth and families arrived feeling excited and a bit nervous. This mixture of feelings is normal for an event such as this one. With help of our wonderful facilitator Josh, we began doing activities to help ease the group into the day.
The day began with separate meetings for the families and the youth. In these smaller groups, the participants met one another, got an overview of the day, and a chance to get their questions about the day answered. Our Master of Ceremonies, Josh, led the youth and families through a variety of icebreakers and team-building games. These started off as a way to get the group comfortable with one another, and then grew as opportunities for everyone to get to know each other on a deeper level. The kids and families had fun completing the activities together. After a morning full of activities, we enjoyed a buffet style lunch with Philly Cheesesteaks, and a surprise visit from Phoebe Phanatic. Phoebe and the youth took a surplus of group photos in our photobooth, trying on a variety of props and poses.
At the end of the day the group was surprised with a “behind the scenes tour” of the stadium. Afterwards, the youth participated in an activity we call “Everyone Has a Voice.” This event highlights the youth in attendance. The youth and Josh sit in a circle, while all adults sit around them. The adults are asked not to respond or react to answers, and allow the youth to share openly without judgement. We wrapped up the day with ice cream and smiles all around!