Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day and Capitol Christmas Trees

I'm a part of South Dakota's Operation Military Kids team. OMK is a group affiliated with the U.S. Army, dedicated to supporting children and youth affected by deployment. This year the OMK team has gotten a Christmas tree at the Capitol building. The project head will be in Surinam (very jealous, I love travel- especially international travel) during the decorating portion of this project. As one of the few team members in Pierre, I've agreed to coordinate the decorating.

This is pretty ambitious for someone that has gone YEARS without decorating for the holidays. Seriously, I have a Charlie Brown tree and I've never dealt with Christmas lights. Now, you're probably wondering what any of this has to do with Veteran's Day.

Because the tree needs to be decorated on November 21 and 22, we are working hard to gather enough ornaments. Based on the size of our tree, we'll need at least 200.

As a way of gathering more ornaments, OMK had a table at the recent Veteran's Day Family Fun Fair at Riggs High School. The ornament themes for our tree is patriotic/stars. Since I didn't see anyone else planning any craft projects, I went ahead and decided to do God's Eyes with the kids. This project was chosen on the basis that the supplies were fairly cheap and easy to get, construction doesn't take more than 15-20 minutes, and there's no paint, glue, or glitter- things that would make the results messy and hard to transport. (Things that would make clean-up harder than it needed to be too.)

There were a few lessons learned from this activity

  • Don't believe the organizers when they predict 300 people. I brought far too many supplies.
  • Don't get caught up in the details. The kids are there to have fun, not make a perfect project for the tree. I had to work hard at letting things go.
  • God's Eyes are definitely a project for the 4th grade and over set. Younger kids don't have the patience or the manual dexterity.
  • Let the kids take the project home if they want to. I may want to display it, but they worked hard on something and they want to keep it.

All in all, I probably netted about fifteen of the things. I truly appreciate the adults that sat with their kids, and created with them.

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