Hello! My name is Liam and I am a marketing apprentice here at Blue Sky. You may not know this, but when you become a foster carer with Blue Sky, you get invited along to social activities that we organise. Right now, we have a series of activities happening in the summer holidays, where everyone can get together to socialise and have fun. The Ringwood team recently invited me on a trip to Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre.
A mixed crowd of foster children, foster carers, birth children, and staff gathered at the entrance, where we excitedly chatted about what monkeys we might see and what we might learn. For example, one foster carer told us that monkeys eat more than just bananas.
To start the day, we were ushered through to a log cabin for an educational talk. We learnt that monkeys do, in fact, have a wider diet than just bananas! The talk then started to get more serious as the presenter spoke about the events that led to the monkeys being rescued, including abuse and neglect. This seemed to resonate with some of the foster children.
After the talk, everyone split into their family groups to explore the park, with a plan to meet back up at lunchtime. We befriended a charming Golden-Cheeked Gibbon named Vietto, who let me take his picture.
Next up, I joined a group of foster children and carers who were watching the Woolly Monkeys swing from their tails.
After working up a sweat in the sun, the clock struck 12:30 and it was lunchtime. We met up as a group at the Great Ape play area for lunch. There wasn’t a picnic bench large enough for us, so we all sat down in the field and opened our lunches, drank our water, and the children kicked a football around.
It was around this time in the day, as I sat quietly looking at the pictures I had taken and at the group around me, that I felt like I was part of a big family, separate from my own.
It was a pleasure to be involved in a day where foster children and birth children mixed together and were just children enjoying themselves. Foster carers and staff came together to make sure their young people were having fun. I had a wonderful day out and I could tell the young people did too, as they ran over to the park next to us and used up more of their seemingly endless energy.