The Perks of Being a Sparks Leader

There are times that being a grown up can be kind of hard. In my case, I’ve been hobbling around my normal life with increased difficulty due to the big awkward cast on my left leg. It has compounded my regular level of mobility difficulty which is due to nerve damage in my legs and feet and has made me a little bit grumpy. Walking is hard, and it makes me tired and sore after just a short time. Meanwhile, I’m busy with work commitments, Girl Guide volunteering, and finishing my final (and most stressful) semester of a Master’s degree.

20160105_183942So when I was arriving at Sparks last night, part of me was just eager for it to be over so I could go home and relax after a long day. Before long my spirits were lifted as I chatted with a dad who was so proud that his daughter would be doing her very first show and tell that evening – even though she was nervous and not sure she wanted to bring anything from home, at the very last minute she decided to bring a special doll and was excited to show it to her friends. He was thrilled by how much Sparks was helping her to try new things and develop her confidence.

At the show and tell circle, I started things off by showing the girls my cast. They expressed lots of concern and were very interested to hear lots of details about what it was made of and how it was put on. They even asked lots of really great questions – “are you able to wiggle your toes in there?” one asked, with big curious eyes. Yes, as a matter of fact, I can… but you can’t tell by looking at me. Several wanted to know if I was allowed to draw on it, and I told them that I was.

After show and tell finished and we completed another activity, I took out a pile of coloured Sharpies and invited the girls to help me decorate the cast.

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At first there was a little bit of chaos as they swarmed around me – they were so excited to do this! – but we quickly agreed that they could take turns and once someone finished a design they would move aside to let someone else have a turn. Not all 16 Sparks could colour one cast at the same time, after all.

Watching them attentively draw and write messages, I was quickly overcome with emotion. It was so clear how much they all cared. The cast was soon covered in hearts, flowers, and rainbows, along with carefully penned messages like “I love you” and “I hope you feel better.”

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Prior to going to Sparks I was grumpy and tired. I had also spent the last several days embarrassed of the cast, trying to hide it behind baggy pants and feeling awkward when people asked me about it. Today I love the cast and it makes me smile when I see it. I wore a skirt to work today and have been showing it off to my coworkers.

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Sure, being a grown up can be kind of hard – and being a volunteer Sparks leader is a lot of work sometimes too. But this week, I was reminded of why it is so worth it, and why I love what I do. Thank you, 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks, for sharing your cheer, your caring, and your confidence. I am proud to be your leader, and so proud to wear the cast you decorated for me.

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