Wild Day encourages teamwork

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By Gina Velasquez

It’s that time of year again for school-aged kids to let loose and go wild. The annual Los Alamos Youth Leadership Wild Day is Saturday.
Students (kindergarten through the sixth grade) are welcome to sign up and enjoy a day of fun with adult mentors and teen coordinators that encourage teamwork.
The day kicks off 9 a.m. at either Los Alamos Griffith Gym or Sullivan Field, depending on the weather.
The “Teamtastic” trio of teen coordinators will guide the children through arts and crafts, games and team events with younger kids vs. older kids. Nine kids will be assigned to each team coordinator.
The teen coordinators helped plan the events and all are veterans to the Wild Day celebration.
Los Alamos High School senior Haley Bridgewater has been with LAYL throughout her high school career, she has been a coordinator for Wild Day for three years. She has participated in many fundraising events for LAYL as well.
“I helped organize a car wash fundraiser,” Bridgewater said. She has also participated in other activities associated with LAYL, such as setting up bike racks around town and plan Adopt-A-Family activities.
Also on hand for Wild Day will be the fire and police department for a Q&A. A fire truck and a bomb detecting robot will give the kids a visual of what these departments do for the community.
“Having them here is a nice way to have the police and fire departments here to connect with the kids,” LAYL Coordinator Susan Odegard-Fellows said, who has been with Youth Leadership for four years.
“I enjoy the excitement that the students have when they come to Wild Day,” Bridgewater said. “I keep coming back so that I can have hand in helping the students keep that excitement year after year.”
“High school kids are great role models for the younger kids,” Odegard-Fellows said.
Another veteran student coordinator is Ally Edelmann, a LAHS sophomore who has participated with LAYL since her start in high school. “I am driven to do things that benefit our community,” Edelmann said. “I love helping others and seeing people smile.”
Connor Bailey is no stranger to participating with LAYL, but it is his first year helping directly with the planning for Wild Day. The LAHS sophomore planned games, crafts and lunch for the kids assigned to his group. He said when he helped out with last year’s event, he enjoyed it so much, he applied again. “It has been a lot of fun,” Bailey said.
Wild Day is the first major event Edelmann will be coordinating.
“Being a leader is fulfilling to me and makes me feel like I am part of something special,” she said. “Being a leader, I want to encourage more people to find happiness and fulfillment in helping others through community service and volunteering.”
Odegard-Fellows encourages parents to stay and participate in Wild Day activities if they would like to.
The sense of community is what keeps the coordinators driven. “I like being in LAYL because it enables me to help make good things happen for Los Alamos, which, being a kid, isn’t often an option,” Bailey said.
LAYL was established in 2005. Events are sponsored by the Family YMCA, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and Los Alamos National Bank. Proceeds for the 2014 Wild Day will go toward the purchase of a picnic table at the high school.
Registration form is available on the JJAB website, or email Susan at layl@ymca.org.