Hadley family grows each year with Fresh Air visitor

  • Adam Barea, 14, swims in the pool at the Selig family's home in Hadley on Monday July 16, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Tanner Selig, 14, left, and Adam Barea, 14, play basketball in the pool at Tanner's house in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Adam Barea, 14, leans against the edge of the pool in Hadley on Monday July 16, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Adam Barea, 14, left, and Tanner Selig, 14, play basketball in the pool at Tanner's home in Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Adam Barea, 14, flips Alexis Selig, 12, off of a pool float in the backyard of the Selig family's home in Hadley on Monday July 16, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Adam Barea, 14 and Tanner Selig, 14, play basketball in the pool at Tanner's home in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • From left to right: Adam Barea, 14, Mia Ollari, 13, Tanner Selig, 14, and Alexis Selig, 12, play a game of basketball in the pool at the Selig family's home in Hadley on Monday July 16, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/VIVIAN MYRON

  • Adam Barea, 14, left, a Fresh Air Fund participant from the Bronx, has ice cream with Tanner Selig, 14, and Alexis Selig, 12, of Hadley, who have been his host family since 2011, Monday, July 16, 2018 at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Adam Barea, 14, right, pets cows with Alexis Selig, 12, and Tanner Selig, 14, of Hadley, who have been his host family since 2011, Monday, at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Above, Adam Barea, 14, left, a Fresh Air Fund participant from the Bronx borough of New York, has ice cream with Tanner Selig, 14, Alexis Selig, 12, and host parents Tom and Christine Selig, of Hadley, Monday, at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley. The Seligs have been Adam’s host family since 2011. Left, Adam Barea, left, and Tanner Selig play basketball in the pool at Tanner's home in Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 7/16/2018 11:21:03 PM

HADLEY — In 2011, Adam Barea, 7, got on a bus and traveled to Hadley from his home in the Bronx as a participant in the Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit that provides children from New York City with free summer experiences in rural settings.

After a week with Christine and Tom Selig and their children Tanner, 14, and Alexis, 12, Adam asked, ‘You’re going to be my forever family, right?’”

Adam, now 14, has been coming for a visit to Hadley every summer since his first stay with the Seligs.

“From the first year, he seemed right at home,” Christine Selig said. “He’s such a great kid and he’s a part of our lives forever.”

Adam’s trips to Hadley have gotten longer each year, starting at one week and extending to two and a half weeks this summer.

“I like it here,” he said. “There’s more space. The city is fun, but it’s a little noisy.”

Adam said that one day, he hopes to move out of the city into a rural area where he can spend more time outdoors.

For the past few years, he has joined the Selig family on their summer vacations. Last week, the family stayed at a friend’s beach house in Biddeford, Maine, spending their time kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, going to the waterpark, and playing lawn games like KanJam.

Every day, Adam and Tanner would go for a walk out on the beach at low tide to a nearby island.

“It’s nice to see two 14-year-olds take a daily walk on the beach together,” Christine Selig said. “I would see them turn to each other laughing.”

She said Adam has bonded with all the members of the family, but is especially close with Tanner. “They are inseparable. To this day, Adam sleeps on a blow-up mattress in Tanner’s room even though we’ve given him other options. They have this indescribable relationship.”

The Fresh Air Fund is a nonprofit organization committed to giving New York City kids summer experiences that immerse them in nature, give them new perspectives, and allow them to form lasting friendships. Children ages seven to 18 from any of the Five Boroughs can apply to attend a Fresh Air camp or be placed with a host family along the East Coast. Host families go through an application process and are thoroughly interviewed before being placed with a child. To learn more about hosting a Fresh Air child, visit freshair.org.

Tanner said he and Adam are very similar.

“We both like to be outdoors, go biking, play basketball, all of that. We consider him a brother.”

The boys stay in touch through Snapchat during the year.

This year, the Selig family and Adam are enjoying the last few days of his trip by spending time in their pool and going on their annual trip to Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley, where they enjoyed a sweet treat and looked at the cows on Monday. While cows are common in Hadley, Christine Selig said that during his first visit, Adam was thrilled every time they drove by a farm, saying, “Guys, did you see those cows?”

Adam heads back to the Bronx on Saturday.

“It’s sad, because I wish I could stay longer. But I miss my madre,” he said.

Alexis and Tanner said they are sad Adam has to leave.

“It’s quiet without him,” said Tanner. His mother said Adam adds “an extra spark” to their family.

The Seligs said they will invite Adam back to their home even after the Fresh Air Fund stops covering the travel expense after he turns 18.

“As he gets older and summer schedules get more difficult, we’ll find a time to see him no matter what,” Christine Selig said.

She said she feels lucky that her family has connected so well with Adam. “You’re bringing a new person into your home to live with you, so it doesn’t always work. But I don’t think we could’ve gotten a better match.”




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