Folly Beach Sweep with 2nd grade Team Turtlelight
Today, 2nd graders unite to volunteer and help our community on an in-school field trip to pickup litter at Folly Beach, SC. The day begins at Laurel Hill Primary, where the children sit eagerly by the front of the school in a line against the wall awaiting the bus. The bus is running behind and need to stay put for an extra 15 minutes. In response, 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Anna Ward immediately swoops into action with the old game of “telephone”, keeping students entertained.
When the bus arrives, there’s a pleasant surprise for all. Thanks to TriCounty Transportation and their generous offering, students and teachers are able to load onto a 56 passenger charter bus instead of the ole cheese wagon.
On the bus, forming a team
All of the Laurel Hill Students sit on the right side. The Executive Director, Craig Morris, begins welcoming children and explaining the program. Why the name Holy City Children? Why was Charleston called “The Holy City”? What’s the pelican about? What were they here to do? Children reply and are fully engaged. They are asked if doing a beach sweep seems like a lot of work. Some reply with confidence “No” while others say “Yes”. It’s then explained that we’ll be picking up some new friends from another school to help us. On the way to James Island Elementary, Craig chats with each student individually in casual conversation, getting to know him/her and offering Holy City Children temporary tattoos, which most happily accept.
Once the group from James Island Elementary arrives, they fill the left side of the HCC charter bus with the help of their teacher Ms Laura Harley. These children are also briefed on the basics of the program: We are all here to help others, take responsibility, and care for our environment by helping our beach be litter free. Craig explains the reason for the name of team “Turtlelight”, which is a combination of the Laurel Hill Primary Sea Turtles and the James Island Elementary Lighthouses. Working together, these children form team “Turtle Light”. They then practice the team cheer.
Craig: “TURTLE LIGHT!”
Team: “OUT OF SIGHT!”
Throughout the day, HCC’s executive director shouts out the first part of the cheer, and children from both classes respond in unison with their part of the cheer. As a result of cheering as a team, they are more connected in working together, bringing unison to their volunteer work. Craig hands each child a HCC team Jersey, visually uniting them as well. As the students put on their uniforms, you can see their excitement building.
Getting to know each other
Upon arrival at the beach, the 2nd grade children play a get to know you game. Each child states his/her name and something they like. Then they hold one end of a string and toss a yarn ball across the circle to the next participant, where the game continues until all children have spoken and are joined together in one interwoven web. After learning about each other and have some fun together, we start to realize we are all connected – just like that physical web the students created.
Learning about environmental stewardship
After the game, the kids remain in their groups. Dory from the South Carolina Aquarium provides an engaging oceanside lesson, teaching children how litter on the beaches affects our oceans, animals, and ourselves, reiterating once again the connectedness of our world.
volunteering and working as a team
Teams divide into 8 smaller teams, each with an HCC adult volunteer to supervise. Everyone gets down to business, volunteering together and cleaning the beaches and working as one team with a smile on their faces.
Finally, once children return to the bus they are thanked individually and given HCC “Today I Showed Kindness” wristbands, reminding them of the experience volunteering together while showing kindness to each other and the environment. The team cheer resonated throughout the bus. Energy was high. Upon arrival at James Island Elementary, the children look across the aisle and tell their new friends thanks and see you next time.
To be continued.