When I first learned of the existence of the Flying Squads during May 2020, I immediately loved the idea and felt that a Flying Squad would fill a need here in our homeschool community in Seattle. I was thinking of pre-pandemic times, but at the same time, a Flying Squad was one of the few in-person things that seemed possible to actually do during a pandemic.
I realize it’s 2020 and the bar is low, but the Seattle Flying Squad has absolutely been one of my favorite things about this year. It’s amazing how much fun we all have every week, with people we’ve only known for a short time, and without any real plan except that we will put on masks and meet up at whatever spot we agreed on the previous week.
On our last day before wrapping up for winter break and looking forward to seeing each other in 2021, I asked the group if anything stood out that they had especially enjoyed about Flying Squad this fall.
The top thing that everyone said first was human connection during a pandemic. I hope we will always remember to feel this full of appreciation for the simple presence of other human beings.
Another thing that got mentioned was exploring the outdoors and hiking in parks. In my experience, most people will agree on the importance of spending time in nature and being active. We know how good these things are for the physical and mental health of people of all ages. And yet, there is the huge push to get kids back into school buildings as soon as possible, and in the meantime to keep them indoors for remote learning.
Someone else brought up the time on our first day together when we happened to pass by an interesting fountain, and we spent fifteen minutes or so hanging out there. She said she realized at that point that we really didn’t have a preset plan and that it really was up to the group to decide what to do moment by moment.
On that day, we had walked from a nearby park to an outdoor shopping mall. It was a sunny day and, for covid times, the area was relatively full with small children in the play areas and adults sitting at tables with coffee and maybe a laptop. Our group must have been an odd sight, stopping here and there on our way to support a locally owned candy store, even sitting on the ground for awhile to play mafia. It is rare to see a group of 11-15 year-olds out in the world being themselves on a Monday afternoon, but there’s no real reason that should be the case.
I love that the Flying Squad model empowered our group to assemble and meet some complex needs for ourselves using resources that we had all along, ourselves and our beautiful city.