It was a sunny Wednesday morning in November when I woke up and prepared for my exciting field trip to Zion Park Manor. It was "exciting" because it was like no other field trip I'd ever been on.
To be honest, I was kind of nervous. I wondered what we were going to talk to seniors about for a whole hour!
Questions raced through my mind. "What if they don't like me?" I thought. "What is it going to be like once we stepped into Zion Manor?"
At around 10: 40 a.m. it was time to drive to Zion. I was still was really nervous but also super excited about the special trip. My heart started to race as we entered the parking lot. I stepped out and went in to the lobby and was greeted with many pretty Christmas decorations, not to mention the cozy, warm feeling of the room.
Chris, Zion's director of activities and volunteers, escorted us downstairs to a very friendly group of seniors waiting patiently for us.
Some of them, unfortunately, had Alzheimer's or dementia so many of them couldn't talk or remember things very well.
The kind staff at Zion Manor began creating groups of students and seniors. My classmates and I stood and sat around little tables where the seniors were gathered. Many were smiling, happy to see us there.
As soon as I sat down and started talking with the seniors I wasn't one bit nervous at all - I felt so much better than how I felt 10 minutes before. Soon after I started talking with the seniors, I realized how much fun I was having and how rewarding the field trip was.
I think the seniors enjoyed discovering what we liked to talk about and what kids like us were doing these days. Our teacher asked us to bring a bag full of items that reflected things about us.
My class brought along items such as photos, badges and ribbons, small trophies, favourite books, small toys, collected rocks and shells, etc.
There were so many interesting things to talk about. As we shared stories about ourselves, the sounds of chatter in the room increased. I think everyone was feeling less nervous and relaxed about this new experience.
Our teacher, Ms. Pesce, told us that there was a calm and happy tone in the room and it made her feel very proud of us. Some of the seniors were very talkative and they enjoyed sharing stories about themselves.
One of the seniors, John, wanted to tell everyone a special message: "Stay in school!"
Chris said the seniors really seemed to enjoy our visit.
"It's awesome to see the residents' faces light up," Chris said.
I felt really happy that everyone had a great time during our trip to Zion Manor and that it made everyone smile.
I really wished I could stay longer and I found myself longing for the day when we could go back to that very special place. Our class is planning on returning to Zion Manor to visit our new friends. We will be visiting at least once each month!
As we prepared to leave, Chris made a comment to one of the residents who lives at Zion.
"The children got out of working at school today to come and see you - lucky them," Chris said to her.
She smiled at Chris, quietly watching us return upstairs to the lobby and gently corrected her...
"Lucky us," she said.