Search the Bayou

I wanted to create Search the Bayou so more kids could experience how amazing and fun Buffalo bayou could be.

- Cameron

Background Information

Cameron loves living in Houston, but sometimes during the summer she found herself sitting around her house wondering what she could do.  Often times she just ended up sitting at home and watching TV instead of taking advantage of all of the amazing things Houston had to offer.  One day she was bored and decided that she had to do something with her day.  Cameron went Buffalo Bayou and walked around with her friend instead of just sitting inside, and her love for the Bayou grew from there. Sadly many Houstonians try to avoid the summer heat by just staying inside and forget about the amazing nature and history right in the middle of Houston. It is so easy to forget that Houstonians have all of this nature right around the Bayou when they drive over the Buffalo Bayou on memorial drive almost everyday.  So to raise awareness of the importance of the bayou for Houston and its inhabitants Cameron created “Search the Bayou.” Search the Bayou is a scavenger hunt that designed to educate kids about Buffalo Bayou and its importance in Houston. The project worked in partnership with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to set up a booth on October 18th on KBR Kids Day, a day dedicated to getting families down to the bayou to learn about different Houston organizations and the new activities available on Buffalo Bayou. The families who participated in Search the Bayou had children that ranged in age from five to ten. The scavenger hunt moved along about a mile of Buffalo Bayou, and the participating families received a scavenger hunt worksheet to fill out as they found the answers along the path. The prizes were sponsored by KIND, and the company provided us with boxes of all natural snack bars. The whole project was funded by a small $150 grant from the St. John’s School community service grant program.

I wanted to create Search the Bayou so more kids could experience how amazing and fun Buffalo bayou could be.
– Cameron

Implementation of the Project

On October 18th Cameron and her action team members arrived at Buffalo bayou to register with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and set up the answers to the clues along the trail. Two action team members, Gracie and Ellie, split up the nine day-of volunteers and directed them to their positions along the trail while Georgia and Cameron stayed at the booth to hand out the scavenger hunt folders and direct people to the start of the scavenger hunt. Search the Bayou went exactly according to plan. All of the volunteers came on time and ready to commit themselves to the project. For most families, the scavenger hunt went very smoothly, but a few families they were unable to follow the scavenger hunt and got off course. Each family was given a folder, a pen and a scavenger hunt sheet with blanks to fill out the answers that were posted along the trail as directed by the scavenger hunt sheet or held by a volunteer. Every family that completed the scavenger hunt had such a sense of accomplishment Everyone also really enjoyed the KIND bar prizes. The kids loved them, but the moms were the ones that were really excited about the treats, and Cameron was really glad that she had found a treat that both the moms and kids liked because the moms had played a key role in keeping their kids on track and also deserved a reward.

Results of the Project

Over all, about twenty families completed the scavenger hunt. The whole experience was very rewarding because when the families came out of the scavenger hunt they were all had looks of pride and accomplishment on their faces. The issue Search the Bayou encountered was that a mile long walk in the Houston heat was a much higher commitment level than many of the kids were interested in.  The other booths had quick exercises like face painting or drawing exercises that allowed for the kids to move quickly from one activity to another in order to maintain their attention.

Although I did not reach as many people as I had hoped to reach with my project, I learned how I could better adjust my project to reach more people for next year.
– Cameron

What’s Next?

Next year, Search the Bayou will be modified to keep the same goal of informing kids about the bayou, but it will take on a more stationary approach in order to reach more kids.

I fully intend to reform Search the Bayou into an activity that will cater to the attention span of even young kids for KBR kids day next year.
– Cameron

Aside from her CLP, Cameron is in the process of forming an outdoors club at her school with the help of the outdoor education leader. St. John’s School recently acquired a small fleet of kayaks, which they intend to focus the club around.  They plan to make a club that emphasizes leadership by teaching kids how to lead their own outdoor adventures.