Before I joined BBBSLA, I didn’t really consider that I might meet, let alone become friends with, other Bigs in the program. It sounds silly to think about now, but in fixating on my match relationship with my Little Sister, I didn’t think about how there were other Bigs and Littles in the program that my Little and I might learn from. I’ve had the chance to meet so many amazing people through outings organized by BBBSLA and Bigs alike, and the Griffith Park hike this past August was no different. The hike was organized by BBBSLA, coming out of an idea from the Facebook group shared by Bigs. Knowing my Little and I hadn’t hiked together before, plus it would be a chance for her to socialize and be outside, I jumped at the opportunity to sign us up.
Everyone met at the Trails Cafe early one Saturday morning to hike up to the Griffith Observatory. We started off with a stretch led by fellow Junior Board member and fabulous human, Alice, with the help of her sporty Little Sister. Once we were all warmed up, it was time to hit the trail! I knew my Little had been on hikes in the past with her family, but I didn’t realize she hadn’t experienced a hike quite as strenuous as this one (i.e. walking up an incline with sporadic shade areas). Coupled with the fact that it was a hot summer day, sunscreen and water were our BFFs during this outing. Other matches felt our pain throughout the ascent, but we managed to strike up some conversation, especially during the few moments we were able to pop under a bit of shade. The scenery- with views of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and Downtown- was perfect, quintessential LA. Overall, the vibe among the matches was positive, and there were many a high five and “way to go!” with special thanks to fellow JB-er Edd, and his sweet Little Bro.
Once we hit the summit (AKA Griffith Observatory), we relaxed on the lawn for a spell. As soon as the Observatory opened, though, we rushed in to take in that sweet, sweet AC! We explored the first floor a bit, where I learned that my Little was interested in coming back to check out some of the other exhibits. Her voicing this was really exciting for me, because until then, she hadn’t contributed too many activity ideas that we could do outside of the house. Griffith Observatory, and likely one of their many events, is going on our To Do list!
After basking in as much air conditioning as we could muster, we were introduced to actress Jona Xiao on the top balcony of the observatory. There, Jona delivered an impassioned and inspirational speech to the group. She spoke of her upbringing in New York to immigrant parents, and how her passion for acting developed into the career that it is today. Her message came across loud and clear to the kids and adults in attendance- if you have a dream, you can achieve it, as long as you believe in yourself and work hard. It was an absolute privilege to hear her speak!
All in all, the match outing was a success! If you’re a Big, keep your eye on your email or the Bigs Facebook group to learn when the next match outing is. Griffith Park, as I’ve mentioned on the blog in the past, is a fantastic outing option for Bigs and Littles looking to be outdoors. If you arrive in the morning, there’s ample free parking along the street, as well as in lots around the park. From hiking to horseback riding, there are so many activities to take advantage of within the park vicinity.
If you’re looking to connect with other Bigs in the program, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the Bigs Facebook group to meet up with others! And if you aren’t yet in the Facebook group, ask your Match Support Specialist to add you. Have you been on outings with other Bigs? Let us know in the comments!