On July 10, a bus full of children with the Fresh Air Fund traveled to Vermont to spend one to two weeks with their host families exploring the Vermont outdoors.
John and Nicole Fisher of Waterbury are in their eighth year of hosting Ethan for the Fresh Air Fund. The Fishers started welcoming Fresh Air Fun kids like Ethan into their family for many reasons.
“We started because I thought it would be a good experience for my children to share an experience with someone else that lives a different life than we do,” said Nicole Fisher.
Ethan, now 13, is from Queens, New York, and enjoys the outdoor activities that the Fisher family does.
“Ethan likes the outdoors, hiking and camping, so it’s exciting for us to see how excited he gets when he visits,” said Nicole Fisher.
“The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, nonprofit agency that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities along the East Coast and southern Canada,” said Jessica Ruf, communications intern for the Fresh Air Fund.
The organization is looking for other interested families to become hosts in the upcoming summers.
“I would definitely recommend to other families to become hosts; it’s only two weeks out of the summer,” said Fisher. “I enjoy seeing how much Ethan changes every year when he comes to visit us and I enjoy seeing the excitement on his face to do all the things we take for granted.”
Having spent two weeks at their house each summer for the past eight years, the Fisher family has been able to watch Ethan grow up alongside their own sons, playing basketball and riding bikes around the neighborhood. Throughout the year, the boys stay in touch through phone calls.
Fisher said, “I think it’s a great opportunity to show kids who may not otherwise have the chance what it looks like outside the city. And it’s also interesting for my kids to hear what life is like inside the city.”
When asked what activities the Fisher family would be doing with Ethan, Fisher said, “We’re definitely going camping for a weekend. We are thinking of going to a water park in New Hampshire and biking. We leave things up in the air to see what he wants to do when he gets here."
The host families that are involved with the Fresh Air Fund are from participating towns such as St. Johnsbury, the Mad River Valley, Newport and Morrisville.