"I got to go get my mind right," Kyle said, walking out to scope his field of play for the day. For an athlete, this mental preparation is expected, but on May 15, it isn't a football field he is scouting.
It is far from it.
Instead, he walks down a path in the woods, looking up at a ropes course suspended from trees, and takes in his challenge for the day. As part of National Foster Care Month, Kyle and his wife, Marissa, worked with Wonderfund to bring 50 foster kids and their families to Boundless Adventures, an aerial adventure park in Berlin, Mass.
Together with the families, Kyle secures himself into a harness, scales the heights and navigates ziplines and obstacles high above the ground. As he moves through the second highest route, a vocal teenager in front of him gently teases Kyle, whose feet are too big for the footholds on one challenge.
"It was challenging," he said with a laugh. "They have the little bunny hills, as people would say for skiing, then the black diamonds. I made it to the blue level, and I think that was enough for me. Honestly, the kids had a great time, and I had a good time razzing them."
Kyle and Marissa's Van Noy Valor Foundation works to advocate for foster and adoptive families, while providing unique experiences. With Wonderfund, the Van Noys are shining a light on a cause close to both of their hearts.
"People graze over this month a bit, and we just want to shed a light on it and show that foster care matters. People matter," Kyle said.
"That's to all the families, the parents, the kids, the people that are in social work," Marissa continued. "The whole community."
A day like this one builds relationships and allows families to just have fun as they challenge themselves. Kids who are hesitant at the beginning of the day end it on the highest ropes course, laughing with their new friend in the NFL.
"It’s just so fun to get to know people and build relationships. For them too, it's confidence," Kyle said. "Just seeing their confidence of working together, getting stuck in a certain situation and cheering each other on or razzing me getting stuck. Just little things like that to get away and have a good time, it really is a blessing."