Living Big and Little Outdoors


Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County is always on the lookout for new ways to engage their “littles’ - the youths who sign up for the program - with their “bigs” - the adult volunteers with the program. With no lack of activities in and around Farmington, the idea for a program designed to embrace outdoor activities was born. Over the last year, the program has helped bring in more male Bigs and provided a new way for Littles and Bigs to interact with each other outside. By Hannah Robertson This story is sponsored by Ace Hardware of Farmington and Boon's Family Thai BBQ

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What's better than hanging out and bonding with your little brother or sister, especially here in the Southwest doing just that but outside? Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County began a new program designed to bring Bigs and their Littles new experiences and opportunities. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Ace Hardware of Farmington and Boone's Family Thai Barbecue. I'm Connor Shreve.

So, we have two basic programs here in San Juan County. One is our school-based program where we have volunteers that will go to a local elementary or middle school, visit child for one hour once a week and maybe help them with their schoolwork, play games and activities, and basically just give these kids what they need, that extra one-on-one attention. Our other program is our community-based program and that's where we have adult volunteers that will pick a child up from their home, and take 'em out into the community, and spend time with them. And, I think this... And, this is where our outdoor mentoring initiative comes from.

Like many other Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations, San Juan County has been struggling with finding enough Bigs or adults to pair with their Littles, the children signed up through the program. San Juan County in particular is in need of men and part of that need motivated the start of the Mentoring Outdoors Program.

The outdoor mentoring initiative. we try to partner with outdoor programs or activities. I know we've... We did something at one of the parks here this past year where I think it's the Nature Center helped... Taught us how to use compasses. So, that was pretty awesome just to go out there, and use compass, and find their sense of direction. We've also done... Went to the Bullock Museum and we try to find other outdoor activities and events that they can participate in.

The month of January is National Mentor Month, a celebration and time to bring awareness to the importance of mentor and role models in our lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County has numerous examples of how important mentorship is and the kind of difference it can make in the lives of those who participate.

A lot of volunteers tell me that they first got into this to help the child, but, after they do it, they're like, I think I'm getting more out of mentoring than they are from me, because it gives 'em a chance to relate to someone young in the community that also gives them a chance to participate in these activities. And, I think too, they learn new things. I mean, maybe they thought they learned everything, but, when you're trying to show the child what's in their community, I mean, you go, and explore, and learn new things too.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for adult volunteers to be a Big for the list of Littles. The commitment is four to six hours a month. Sign up on their website or reach out to Francisco directly. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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