Last summer I discovered Field Trip Friends. At the time Mila was brand new and Micah was an antsy 2-year-old. My kids have always been the happiest and easiest to manage when we get outside. Seriously, if I get them out in the morning, they are mellow for the rest of the day. It’s like magic.
But between unpredictable naps, potty training, packing the diaper bag and deciding on the best time and location … it just wasn’t happening. Things were getting ugly.
Then a friend told me about Field Trip Friends. It is actually really cool – an educational eco-venture for the wee ones and their parents. There are four 4 or 8-week sessions a year, each with a different theme and educational focus. You might visit a farm, pound some poi, voyage on sailing a canoe and you will definitely discover Oahu destinations you never knew existed. It gave us the push we needed to get back outside. My son loved it, I really enjoyed it (huge bonus) we all got outside, and I swear, we all slept a little bit better. Ahhhh.
Because I heart Field Trip Friends in a big way, I wanted to interview Cindy – creator, owner, educator and mom-extraordinaire to get the inside scoop on Field Trip Friends. I caught up with her following a field trip to learn more (check out the photos below).
You can tell Cindy was an educator for 16 years. She has a lot of heart, endless enthusiasm, and speaks passionately about teaching and the environment. She taught at exclusive schools like Punahou and Mid-Pacific and was drawn to any opportunity to bring the classroom outdoors.
During one of her class trips she was leading a group of kids on a hike when they stopped at a scenic point to have lunch. Three boys refused to sit on the ground. They didn’t want to get dirty. It was an epiphany of sorts. She realized that kids and families just don’t get outside enough to explore and play in the dirt.
The feeling was reinforced a year later when Cindy was fortunate to be chosen as a teacher-at-sea aboard the Hokulea, the Polynesian voyaging canoe. They sailed past the main island chain all the way to Nihoa Island, a place of pristine beauty where nature still dominates. The stark contrast to the main islands was evident upon their return. The closer they got to Oahu, the more garbage they would see in the water. Cindy was horrified and it sealed her decision to dedicate her life to reconnecting families to nature. “You can’t appreciate something if you don’t know it” she says.
After her son was born, Cindy stopped working and joined a baby hui. The group originally took turns planning a fun event for the kids each week. Cindy found herself planning educational, outdoor activities when it was her turn. A nature lover from the start, she had grown up exploring Oahu and had over a decade of experience teaching kids about Hawaii’s unique environment and culture. When moms from outside the group began to approach her for suggestions, she realized that she had a unique skill set to offer and the idea of Field Trip Friends was born.
She soon found out that this was something families wanted. Just a year after launching her business, she had 100 families signed up and they kept coming back for more. One family has been with her since the beginning. This will be their fifth year in Field Trip Friends and their not unusual. She has a fiercely loyal following with 75% of her families returning to sign up for a second, third or fourth session. Cindy’s favorite part is watching the kids and families grow. She loves watching them explore, get dirty and learn as a family.
Head over to Field Trip Friends and check them out!!
I’d love to hear about your adventures! What are your favorite family activities?