Remember. Honor. Teach.

Lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about my older RPM “kids”, who are not really kids at all, but young adults. These young adults, in their late teens and early twenties, are without a doubt, the most selfless, caring individuals I have ever met. Throughout their writings are consistent themes of desires to: make meaningful contributions to society; form strong friendships; learn; educate; gain independence; help other nonspeaking kids; and hold worthwhile employment. I take their words very seriously and am constantly thinking of ways to help them meet their goals. So, my friend and fellow RPM provider, Meghan Pennington told me that she and her client, Camille, were participating in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for these young adults to be of service and hang out together!

So, EARLY morning, on December 13, we set out on our first RPM Young Adults Outing! My crew: Meghann, my GKTC counterpart and RPMer extraordinaire (yes, there are 2 Meghann/Meghans in this story!); Christie, my partner in crime; and Linda, willing friend and adventurer and I met up with our band of young adults –Ben, Huan, Emma and Paul at the metro to ride to Arlington Cemetery. Because our young adults have expressed a desire for independence, this was a parent-free outing, and we “companions” agreed to be as un-parental, un-clingy, yet responsible as possible! Better than any words I could expend telling you about our day, I think these pictures tell the story best!

It was a loooong metro ride into the city!  What should have taken 20 minutes took 2 hours!

What should have taken 20 minutes turned out to be a loooong metro ride into the city! Overcrowded trains and long waits at the station did not diminish our fun. Ben and Emma took it in stride, enjoying the trip!

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Waiting for the next train to come through was a great time to hang out and chat.

Linda, Meghann and Paul are decked out in wreaths!

After arriving at Arlington National Cemetery we picked up our wreaths. Linda, Meghann and Paul are decked out in wreaths and leading the way!

After arriving at Arlington National Cemetery, we got our wreaths.

After arriving at Arlington National Cemetery, we got our wreaths.

We met up with fellow RPM friends, Camille, Meghan and John!

We met up with fellow RPMing friends Camille, Meghan and John!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben and Meghann read the name of the veteran and pause in remembrance before placing their wreath.

Ben and Meghann read the name of the veteran and pause in remembrance before placing their wreath.

Huan chooses where to place his wreath.

Huan chooses where to place his wreath.

Emma places her wreath.

Emma lays her wreath on the gravesite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghan and Camille have a moment of silence.

Meghan and Camille have a moment of silence.

Paul views the miles of grave markers now adorned with wreaths. It is a stunning reminder of all who have served this country.

Paul views the miles of grave markers now adorned with wreaths. It is a stunning reminder of all who have served our country.

The gang befriends some soldiers, thanks them for their service and gather for a picture!

Our gang befriends some soldiers, thanks them for their service, and gather for a picture.

We stop talk about what we have learned today. Ben writes, I AM SO HONORED TO BE HERE SHOWING RESPECT FOR OUR VETERANS.  Paul spells, THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST DC OUTING EVER!

We stop talk about what we have learned today. Ben writes, I AM SO HONORED TO BE HERE SHOWING RESPECT FOR OUR VETERANS.

Paul adds, THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST DC OUTING EVER!

Paul adds, THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST DC OUTING EVER!

We decide to avoid the metro lines and walk into DC to catch the metro there! We pause for a group photo on the Memorial Bridge.

We decide to avoid the metro lines and walk into DC to catch the metro there! We pause for a group photo on the Memorial Bridge.

And who can resist a photo opp in front of the Lincoln Memorial?

And who can resist a photo opp in front of the Lincoln Memorial?

After a clocking in 4.5 miles of walking for the day, everyone was HUNGRY! The kids used the boards to spell out what they wanted for lunch and ate every bite!

After a clocking in 4.5 miles of walking for the day, everyone was HUNGRY! The kids used the boards to spell out what they wanted for lunch and ate every bite!

The "old adults" were worn out from the day, but the young ones had energy to spare!

The “old adults” were worn out from the day, but the young ones had energy to spare!

As you can see, our first RPM Young Adults Outing was a huge success and will not be our last! My kids are constantly challenging me to think of new ways to involve them in the community to: learn; educate; be of service; and show the world they are smart, talented and have something to contribute. I am always on the lookout for new and interesting things to do (Don’t worry, I have ideas in mind for my elementary and middle school kids too!).  Our challenge to you is to get together with your kids and RPM friends and see what you can contribute to your community! ~Elizabeth

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