Introducing young people to something new can be just as fun for the grown-ups as it is for the kids. The look on their face when you tell them the news of what’s to come, and the incredibly creative questions that some of them come up with to mentally prepare themselves for the adventure will never get old to me.
Recently we found out that our network wanted to film a project for Labor Day. DL and I hired our crew of creatives, got the equipment in order for the day, and went looking for a handful of young people to participate in the project with us. Celebrating youth in the outdoors was a part of the theme, so what better way to show that than to use kids who we have actually helped introduce to the outdoors?
One little girl, who is now 12 years old, accompanied us on a coon hunt in Kentucky last year. It was not only her first hunt, but the first time she had shot a .22. We featured the hunt on our show last season, and she has since grown in her love for all things outdoors. She’s a good shot with a gun now and has even taken a class to further her education about gun safety.
The other 3 kids are neighbors of ours who find their way over to our house on a near daily basis. They are not only adorable to look at, but they each have a distinct personality trait that leaves us laughing at every turn. We introduced them to blow-guns in our backyard last year, had a big campfire and s’mores for them last winter, and every time a new animal comes home from the taxidermist they come over to see it.
In the photo below you’ll see a boy shooting an air rifle for the very first time, and we caught it all on camera. I don’t know how many young people have been stood up straight by DL’s hand as they pull the trigger for the first time, but we never get tired of watching their faces light up.
The day we filmed was hot. It wasn’t just hot as in “I should wear short sleeves”. It was Tennessee hot with humidity and a breeze that felt like a hair dryer. The kids smiled all day for the cameras, some had small speaking roles, and they hung in there with us until we wrapped it up late in the day. We were exhausted, they were hungry. But we were all happy that we had been a part of such a great experience.
We sent them home knowing that they would never forget what they learned that day. It’s not always glamorous to film for tv. It can be fun, and we always laugh and have a good time, but it’s challenging and the days are long. I hope there are new things that we can introduce the kids to though out our years as their neighbors. One day those kids will grow up and I doubt that they’ll have time to come sit on our porch and talk to us about their day. We cherish these days when they’re teaching us about life, and we assume that we’re doing the same for them.