To The Daily Sun,
Planning meaningful field trips for fifth-graders has always been a difficult undertaking. In the last few years, I have looked into providing positive life experiences and exposure to “things” that are available in our community rather than traveling two hours or more on a school bus.
With that being said, I reached out to Bob Bolduc, owner of Piche’s Ski and Sport Shop, to hopefully plan a trip to Bolduc Park to explore three outdoor sports: skating, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Bob and I coordinated our efforts via multiple emails and crossed our fingers that Mother Nature would cooperate and give us some snow. Prayers were answered and the trip was planned for Feb. 15.
Our fifth-graders layered up with snow gear, boarded a bus, arrived at Piche's, where we were met with the most helpful staff. The students were given the choice of which sport they wanted to be outfitted with first. It was amazing to watch the excitement grow downstairs at Piche's as kids tried on skates, snowshoes and/or cross-country boots. When we finished, we walked to Bolduc Park with two trucks escorting us so that we arrived safely.
Bolduc Park is a priceless “gem” for our community! Bob Bolduc and his staff: Patrick, Matthew, Jason and the many volunteers went above and beyond to give our students a memorable experience. The fifth-graders at Elm Street School learned to cross-country ski and snowshoe out on the beautiful fields that this park has to offer, skate on two outdoor ice rinks, sit by a fire pit, eat their lunches outdoors while sitting on a snowbank, talk with his staff about the park and these sports in particular, and lastly were able to try disk golfing while on snowshoes!
Mother Nature gave us a day filled with sunshine and temperatures in the high 40s and it was magical. Watching our fifth-graders help each other up, compliment and encourage each other to keep trying, and giving personal “lessons” to a peer as to how to be successful was so rewarding! Each and every student tried all of the sports offered as Bob Bolduc and Piche's had all of the equipment necessary to outfit all 42 students and teachers. There was never a time when someone was waiting for equipment or standing around. The kids had to be reminded to stop and get something to eat or drink and many of them were upset when told they must stop to have their lunch, they just wanted to play. After packing up all of the equipment and loading it into trucks, we ventured into the barn on the grounds to listen to Bob share stories about the history of skiing, how skis were built over the years, and see his massive collection, well into the thousands! He answered many burning questions from eager students and he is so full of valuable information about the sport. He is a wealth of knowledge for our community about the sport of skiing.
I have never before written a letter to the editor, but felt compelled that my experience had to be shared. Bolduc Park is a wonderful place for the kids in our community to be kids and play outside! It not only offers affordable rentals to try all of these winter sports, it offers so much more! Bob and I had a goal and it was to offer the kids an outdoor adventure and hopefully after trying a winter sport it might become a part of their lifestyle ... maybe they will step away from their phones, tablets, gaming systems, and other forms of technology and get outside and play. I think we accomplished that!
When we arrived back at Elm Street School the kids were stating this was “This was the best trip ever,” “I loved cross country skiing!” “You were amazing at skating.” “I am going to go back there soon.” “I loved Bolduc Park!” “Can we go back there?”
Mrs. Besegai, Mrs. Hooper, Miss Read and myself want to express our deepest gratitude to Bob Bolduc and his staff for the support that made our field trip to Bolduc Park a huge success. Personally, I want to thank Bob Bolduc for having a dream to create a park for our community to enjoy in any season, it is a priceless “gem” and as the saying goes “If you build it they will come ...” We will definitely be back!
Andrea. Morin – Fifth-grade teacher
Elm Street School, Laconia