Behind This Post
Stories from the Trail is a blog series focused on capturing and retelling special moments from our Trail Rides program. We will highlight lessons learned, unexpected discoveries, and moments of pure joy our program youth experience on the trail. These stories convey a variety of perspectives including those of our dedicated ride leaders, volunteers, and youth.
Our Youth Swap Saddles
By Adam Smith, Trail Rides Program Manager
Contrary to the popular adage, sometimes it is the destination, not the journey that brings those special moments that make us feel alive. This is especially true when those moments arrive unexpectedly.
The kids from the Latina Center had no idea. It isn’t very often that you come across a carousel in the middle of the woods after all. Especially one that was built in 1912 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. So when we arrived at the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round after our ride near Lake Anza they were ecstatic.
The Latina Center in Richmond, California, is one of our non-profit partners whose mission is to improve the quality of life and health of the Latino community by providing leadership and personal development opportunities for all Latinas. The kids from this program are all bilingual and love riding with us. They especially enjoyed this ride, though the mountain bike ride through the park might have not been what captured their attention the most on this special occasion.
The sheer excitement and joy were overwhelming when we told them they were going to get to ride the carousel. Screams of delight filled the air. It’s moments like that when you know you are making a positive difference. When you feel so much joy around you from the simple past-time of riding an amusement ride.
“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around–and why his parents will always wave back.” – William D. Tammeus, Pulitzer Prize Journalist
With every revolution of the carousel, smiles abounded. It was joyous to witness the transformation as the youth got lost in the experience. Though you’re not really going anywhere on a carousel, the moments while you’re riding are filled with a timeless sense of happiness, free from the burdens of modern life and away from a glowing screen; much like riding a bike. They both make you smile for the simple act of riding and being present in the moment.
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