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It felt like such a gift to have time together outside…

This was my first time back at Covenant House Vancouver after being off work for a couple of weeks. Needless to say, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our entire community, things have really changed. The youth are asked to stay inside unless they absolutely need to leave – to go to work or to the doctor’s office for a medical appointment, for example. And this can be hard; both for the staff and for the young people.

Whenever possible, we try to go on walks to get some exercise and fresh air. When we do, we make sure that everyone stays at least 6 feet apart and washes their hands upon arrival back to the Crisis Program.

This past Sunday, some of the youth really wanted to get out of the shelter. Claire, one of our youth workers, said she would join them out on a walk and asked if I wanted to come too. So, the two of us and a group of four youth decided to take advantage of the nice weather and stepped out for some fresh air.

We walked down to Sunset Beach. When we got there, all we wanted to do was meander aimlessly; just happy enough to be outdoors. One of the youth, went to see the cherry blossoms and took some pictures. It was her first time ever seeing them! Afterwards, we walked over to an area by the water that had rocks. We climbed them, and I showed some of the youth how to create rock towers by stacking smaller rocks on top of larger ones. We sat and built rock towers and talked.

To be honest, it was really wonderful just sitting there talking to the girls. One of them mentioned that she had been clean for three weeks from drinking, and how she really wanted to continue with her sobriety. Another youth spoke of how she just wanted to stay where we were all day.

I told them about a poem I had heard earlier on the radio, it went something like, “I care about you, so that is why I keep my distance.” They thought it was accurate, for times like these.

We stayed there at the beach for a few hours. At times we were silent, at times we talked, at times we built our rock towers. Time seemed to stand still.

Yes, it’s a difficult time right now with the changes the COVID-19 virus is having on our Crisis Program and on our world. But it felt like such a gift to have this time together outside with the young people. It was so heartwarming to listen to them and witness them being so supportive, positive, and grateful.

Shared by Youth Worker, Lesley from our Crisis Program