Weekend mentoring fun!!!

I asked my mentees last week if they wanted to go peach picking on Sunday with my wife and I, one of our annual traditions we try to do every year. I let them know that we would have to pick them up early that morning to get a head start on the hot weather. They agreed. Spontaneously I decided to go fishing Friday evening. I called the group home and asked if the home had any plans/activities and if my 2 mentees wanted to go with me. They both were eager to get out of the house for a few hours on a Friday night to go fishing. We tried canal “A” and after a while gave up on it and tried the other side of the overpass on canal “A”. We managed to get a few bites, which was exciting for the boys, even though there were no significant tugs on the line. We then decided to try this other canal spot I recently caught a few at. They managed to get a few more hits and then we finished the night with not one of us landing a catfish. Kind of a let down…I’ve been wanting them to have the rush of catching a fish on their own, seeing how only mentee #2 has actually caught something with me before. He had only caught a sucker fish at Gila River…and it wasn’t even because the fish took the bait…it was because he got hooked on the fin when my mentee was reeling in. So, we stopped for ice cream and then I took them home. I was determined to redeem that trip so I went back for a few more hours afterwards and left with only 1 catch. Saturday I went by myself in the heat of the afternoon to a spot I had been told about by a wheelchair bound fisherman who fishes from his car. I tried a couple spots and ended up with 5 catches that afternoon/evening. Sunday rolls along and we pick up the boys and take them peach picking and to the olive mill, where at both places they are sampling everything possible. On the way back to Phoenix, we stopped at a low key Chinese food buffet, which was a bit entertaining in itself. The beaming smiles of a 15 year old and 12 year old at a Chinese food buffet is PRICELESS!!!! J After a 5 hour visit, I drop them off and my wife and I head home to relax/rest. A few hours later, I’m recharged while my wife is still sleeping, so I figure the best thing I can do is get out of the house for a few hours to let her sleep without making a lot of noise. I get in the car and start heading to Saturday night’s canal spot but on the way (4 hours after dropping them off), I call the group home, ask if they are any activities, and if the boys are bored. I hear one of the kids in the home YELL “ARE YOU GOING FISHING?!?!?!?!” Well, sure enough, the both wanted to get out of the house and go fishing. We stop to get some more chicken livers and off to canal “C”. We try to east side of the underpass and maybe a bit or 2, and then move off to the west side of the underpass. At which point, the boys seem a bit more interested in playing “king of the hill” on the huge concrete block than sticking around and attending to their fishing poles. About an hour later, my fishing pole jumps out of the car window and starts heading for the canal. My instincts kick in and I dive on the ground (I got the scrape on my leg THROUGH the pants to prove it J ) for my fishing pole. The boys are close enough to see this or else they probably would have had a good laugh…after all, it happened to me twice last night when my poles were pulled out of the car doors as the windows were rolled down. Now they are a bit more interested in fishing since they have a fish to play with (6:22pm) . 44 minutes later, mentee #1’s pole starts going crazy. He jumps on it and you would think he was pulling in a monster tuna or something. So, he’s a little stoked at this point. I’m trying to coach him and watching as he tries to get the hook out. The littlest boy in the group home has asked the last 2 times we’ve gone fishing to bring him back a fish, so yesterday I figure was the day to bring back something if we catch it. We will up a bucket and hang on to him to see if we catch others, to take back the biggest catch to the group home. 15 minutes after mentee #1’s first catch, mentee #2 is sitting down at the edge of the canal and his shoes are pushing in dirt/rocks into the canal. I was trying to redirect him that we don’t want to do that in the “fishing zone” because it will scare the fish. Seconds later, I see his iPod go tumbling into the canal. I told him a couple times that his iPod fell in but he just kept looking at me in disbelief…until he reached in to his pocket to realize that it actually happened. So, here’s mentee #2 who hasn’t caught a fish yet and now his iPod falls in the canal. In an effort to make #2 feel better, #1 starts taking off his shoes and socks and says he’ll go in for it. I knew there was no way it is safe but just saying don’t may be less convincing for a teenager. I tell him let me stick the pole in first to see how deep it is and that there are no steps for him to get out with. My pole never hits the bottom, so we managed with much sadness to write it off as a loss. I’m trying to encourage him that these material possessions are replaceable. At first he thought I said that I would replace it, but I reemphasized that it could be replaced one day, and that it wasn’t the end of the world. He tried to get in better spirits, but also gave up on fishing and put his pole back in the car. 13 minutes later, just minutes after putting some fresh bait on the line, mentee #1’s pole is going crazy again. Mentee #2 desperately asked if he could reel in the fish, unsuccessfully, but stayed there helping pull in the line. I’ve never seen to kids that excited about catching a fish before. That memory right there they will probably remember for the rest of their life. Mentee #1 was so excited, that when we pulled in to QT for ice cream, he said he was going to tell them he caught a fish. Sure enough, we go inside and he goes straight up to the employees at the counter and says “I CAUGHT A FISH.” I had to really talk him out bringing the fish into the store BTW, so a few minutes later, he asked me to come over and show them the picture of him and the fish he caught. He was soooooo excited that he is telling strangers he caught a fish. That boy was on cloud 200. When we got to the group home, there was no shortage of excited chaos when he walked in with the deceased fish. I tried convincing the staff to cook the fish up, but he wasn’t going for it. Verbally and facially he encouraged me to take it with me when I go home. Well, they had the time of their life…I mean, except for when the iPod took a swim, but even after that, he was able to enjoy the moment of the other boy catching a monster catfish. Memories made. I may not have to beg them to go fishing anymore!!! Oh, they want to go fishing this Friday as well. Earlier in the visit, they said they want to go swimming on Friday, but they changed their mind. Mentee #1 also wanted to call his mom and tell her the news after the first catch, which he did. Mama was very proud!!!
#MentorsNeeded #100KidsWaiting #HelpClearTheWaitingList #8HoursAMonth #2HoursAWeek #MakingADifference #MakingMemories #FosterCareAwarenessMonth #HelpingFamiliesHeal #FromStatistic2Success #ArizonansForChildren #FosterCare #FosterKids #FosterLivesMatter 


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