Thursday, March 25, 2010

Support your local organizations

Sorry about the long delay in posting. A fun little cold ran its course through my entire household, and with one of those being a 9 month old baby, it was a long drawn out process that did not allow for quality blog-time.

During my "absence" I went to a local event at one of my favorite places: Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, FL. On March 13th, they celebrated the 5th annual "Turtle Day" and this was the first time I attended simply as a guest. Usually I am working for an organization or volunteering to help GL out, but this year was just for fun! To learn about this awesome place for yourself, check out

While trekking through the hammock on a shady boardwalk, baby in stroller, I remembered how I first found the place. I had decided to take a drive down A-1-A and see the ocean. I just happened to drive by and made a point to drive by again on purpose and take the time to pull over. I filled out a volunteer application that day and Gumbo Limbo became a part of my life within a week. I acquired have life long friends and unforgettable experiences because one day, I took the long way home.

There are wonderful and unique opportunities no matter where you live. On T.V. I heard an obese man comment on how he look at a local mountain everyday for 38 years, but never climbed it until he finally started losing the weight. Living in Florida exposed me to countless New Yorkers, and when asked about Central Park's attractions or the Statue of Liberty, or even Ground Zero, they say... "oh, I've never been" or "never took the time to see it". Why do we often wait to go somewhere great that happens to be close by only when a friend or relative comes from far away? There is nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own state, and checking out all the must-see areas.

Yes, I live in Florida, and while raising my son it is extremely important to me and Jacen's father that we give him exposure to everything there is to offer here. He was at the beach at 5 weeks old. At least once a week we go to an area park, sanctuary, or natural preserve to walk around and show him the world. He will go to the Keys, and the Everglades, and Disney too! As he grows up, the adventures will only get bigger an better.

In this world of economic downturn, I have seen (and am still watching) wonderful organizations struggle or shut their doors completely because there is a lack of LOCAL SUPPORT. I understand how it can be financially difficult to have that vacation you so desperately deserve, so look into what is within one day's driving distance. You will save money, support a very worthy cause, and maybe... like my experience with Gumbo Limbo... change your life.

An easy way to find out what is around is to visit a weekend festival or green market. Earth Day is coming up, and that will be a perfect time to go somewhere new. So, I challenge you to find the time in April and try something different! Earth Day is technically Thursday, April 22nd, but many places will celebrate on the 17th. Check your local paper or go to your city's website.

Good luck, and have fun playing OUTSIDE! Maybe even play in the WATER if you can!


Michele DeYoung said...

I just finished reading a book called "Swimming Lessons" and I thought about you the whole time I was reading it. I remembered all the fun we had releasing the baby turtles. I'll never forget those days; they were some of the best of my life. I was thinking about finding a place to volenteer in Central Florida. I too have a little boy who LOVES the ocean. We take him to NSB at least monthly. I would love to be a part of the turtles again. I love your blog! You always were great with words!

Callie Sharkey said...

Thanks so much! I am so thrilled that you have such fond memories and I was able to share them with you. I'm still trekking in the outdoors every chance I get, and think it is great that your boy loves the ocean already! I hope that my son follows suit!