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News from the Nest: Field trip provides fun for all involved

The other day, I volunteered to help my son's kindergarten class on a field trip to the fire station. I have to admit I was a bit nervous. My son has, well, a lot of energy. On top of that when he gets bored or is uninterested in what is going on he is able to create his own entertainment, which typically gets him in a bit of trouble. Thankfully he was extremely excited to go to the fire station and has a collection of fire trucks at home, so luckily he was pretty intrigued and overall behaved well.

I was the only parent helper which made me very mysterious to the other kids. As they filed out of music to head to the bus, they all examined me with their eyes. Before I knew it one little girl came up and held my hand; and a little boy quickly grabbed the other. It was fun to finally meet the little ones that my son talks about at home.

The bus ride in itself was fun for my son as we are boring and pick him up every day after school. As I sat next to him and his buddy for the trip, they informed me of the rules on the bus. Did you know that even a bus driver has rules they have to follow? I do now.

Imagine 22 kindergartners entering a fire station and the excitement and questions running through their heads. I could feel their energy all around me. Even the kitchen the firefighters have their meals in and the tiny single beds they call home when they are on duty were awesome to the little ones. Kids were in shock that even if the fire fighters are in the middle of cooking or eating supper, if there is a call, they have to leave everything.

As the tour continued we finally got to the almighty fire truck. I could tell it took a lot out of the kids just trying to stay respectful and polite while the firefighter told us about the different parts of the truck. They had a lot of questions, a lot. But they also had stories to tell as well. As one teacher put it, "children, please just ask questions. A question is something you want to know, not a story to tell." In fact one little girl had to be cut off after her question-turned-story continued on for several minutes. All while other kids tried to wait patiently with their hands raised to ask their "questions."

Each child got to sit in the fire truck. These five seconds were likely the highlight of their day, rivaling only with when one of the fire fighters put on his full gear. Kudos to the fire fighter for reminding the kids that he wasn't scary and that they should never be afraid of a fire fighter who is trying to help. Once in full gear the kids were allowed to basically tackle, beat, stomp on and do whatever else they wanted to the fire fighter. This showed how tough and strong his equipment was. I could see the horror in my son's teacher's face. I'm sure she was thinking that she spends a good part of her day reminding these same kids to not hit, keep their hands to themselves, respect others, and here they were given the go ahead to pound on the fire fighter!

Overall the kids had a really great time and so did I. We all learned more about what a fire fighter does, the sacrifices they make and how their equipment works. And of course the kiddos got a once in a lifetime chance to stomp on a fire fighter.