I was working for a foster home – the building our children were housed in was to be sold and we had to move all of our boys. We found one of these huge old houses with a really big overflowing backyard.
The week we moved in involved tremendously hard work for staff and kids alike – the goal was to finish everything by Friday so that we could have a big Staff and Families Picnic on Saturday. The kids spent the evening clearing the back yard and then played a well-earned football game that Friday night.
They all woke up the next morning with poison ivy in every possible place. This was the most miserable bunch of kids I have ever seen. Instead of picnicking, we all spent the day at the walk in clinic… and just about the time that the boys were all healed up, the staff thought they had figured out how to rid the backyard of the plants – so the following week we all walked around with it ourselves.
This was 5 years ago and the kids still talk about it. In a very strange way it was a real bonding point for the boys and the staff – we describe people as being or not being part of the poison ivy group.
(Editor’s note: this is a stock photo, not one of the real kids in the story. But pretty much any kid who has to hoe weeds doesn’t look happy…)