There’s nothing like a group of enthusiastic, energized school kids to put a smile on your face and remind you to pause for a moment and view the world through their lens. The exuberant group of kids in the photo above were gathered on the steps of the Pacific National Bank just outside my office recently. Curiosity got the best of me, so I stepped outside and paused on the crosswalk to see what they were up to. They were posing for a photo op and making a little video clip for one of their teachers who’s away. The sincerity and enthusiasm they displayed throughout the process was heartwarming.
With the new school year well underway and Mother Nature serving up beautiful Autumn days, teachers have had multiple opportunities to get kids out of the school building and into the great outdoors. I’ve seen groups of kids engaged in spirited soccer games and jumping rope in the large grassy lot on Mill Street. Another day, a different group of kids were gathered around the windmill on Prospect with sketchbooks in hand. A local teacher mentioned to me recently that she’d taken her class on a science field trip out to Shimmo.
The Nantucket community works together to help educate and encourage its young people as well. Throughout the summer, Nantucket Bookworks sponsored a “Where’s Waldo in Nantucket” game. Kids were given a list of local retail participants where they could stop in and try to find Waldo amidst the merchandise. Once all the Waldo sightings were completed on the checklist they turned it in for a prize. It was a great way for kids (mom and dad too!) to get acquainted with the multitude of retail establishments on Nantucket. Last week, I encountered a group of school kids on a downtown scavenger hunt. They weren’t searching for the typical hairbrush or spool of thread. They were on the hunt for a downtown water fountain and the original town boundary markers; discovering new little secrets about their island while participating in an age-old game.
All of these activities remind me of the endless possibilities Nantucket offers all of us to tap into our inner child. I can take a “field trip” to a new island location every day of the week. I hope I’m never too old to skip stones across Hummock Pond, ride my bicycle out to Sconset, build a sand castle on Cisco Beach or indulge in my favorite ice cream at the pharmacy (Peppermint Stick in a sugar cone thank you). I’d love to gather friends for a scavenger hunt and I’m always on the lookout for Waldo. A friend of ours once declared Nantucket “Disneyland for grown-ups.” I’m biased, but I think it’s Disneyland for all ages…truly the happiest place on earth.
When was the last time you let your hair down and scheduled some good old fashioned playtime into your day? Whether you live on Nantucket or plan to visit the island someday soon, plan to spend plenty of time living like a kid. Take a surf lesson, fly a kite, stop by the Sunken Ship and purchase a goofy hat…and by all means wherever you go, keep your eyes peeled for Waldo!