Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacation - Part IV

The endless summer...and I haven't even been to beach and let's not even consider me on a surfboard. Anyway...the last portion of our vacation was our annual trip back to Keuka Lake and Keuka College for Chinese Culture Weekend. As I've mentioned before, our Rochester Families with Children from China (FCC) organizes and runs a fabulous weekend of fun, camaraderie, Chinese daughters and sons (we have a great deal more than we used to!) and Chinese arts, crafts, culture and history.

Alexa has been lukewarm on this event for the past two or so years but this year she was anxious to go and to see her friend Rebecca. This is the only time all year the girls can get together in person as Rebecca lives a good three hours away.

We've had a few challenges the last two or three years in that our first group of children are starting the pre-teen and teen years. Finding activities for them to do without abandoning what we do for the younger ones has been a challenge. This year we had a DJ driven "Sock Hop" on Friday night. I'm told it was a big success - but we missed it as we came after work and didn't arrive until close to 9:00 p.m.

Another big part of the weekend is what we call the Culture Trail. We use the first and second floor of Hegeman Hall (classroom and offices) and set up stations according to a theme. This year I believe we did the Silk Road (a retread for the older girls, but new for the younger ones). The older girls had "Free Time" during this part of the weekend or many of them are CITs - Counselors in Training. Alexa was not interested in being a CIT last year when the program was formed but she expressed an interest this year to do it next year. Our parents do a wonderful job! Here is a prop designed to be a Chinese fishing boat. At each station the kids get a little history/fact background and do a little craft or activity. They get a sticker that they've completed the stop and go to the next. At the end of trail they get a bigger gift. They year they got a nice red canvas tote and a really cute stuffed panda bear! The Bradley-Donnelly family live near Keuka in Penn Yan and they have a large barn on their property and they are kind enough to not only store our props but they make many of them. This boat was just awesome!

We also had the mountains (above) the plains and a walk across the great wall!

As we live so far away, we only do this one event with FCC. However, I've taken it upon myself to do a scrapbook page each year for the past four to five years. This year I had a new design team member - Alexa! She designed the page you see and helped tremendously in getting all the letters cut, bagged and the kits assembled because I had to work on Friday. We put together 85 kits!

One of the themes of the weekend was Famous Chinese Americans. Alexa designed a 'Facts About Me/Just Imagine..." page. Each of the circles with the picture on it is attached to the page with a brad. Just swivel the picture circle aside and you will see facts about the person underneath. We used Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle Kwan, I.M. Pei and Amy Tan. The kids could put a picture of themselves on the mat provided and then fill in the questions on the bottom with facts about them, favorite food, favorite sport, favorite person, etc. and what I want to be when I grow up.

Because I had to work, I 'contracted' out the job of finishing the kit ingredients and packing for the weekend to Alexa! She had a specific list of things to do and a pre-set, agreed upon price for accomplishing this list with a bonus clause for work above and beyond what was contracted. Needless to say, with the money incentive -- she got the bonus!

The page went over very, very well. I gave complete props to Alexa for her design and to Dove of the East, a paper company that specializes in culturally themed scrapbook papers for giving me the papers at a wholesale price. Here are some of our girls and families working on their pages.

As you can see, we not only have Moms helping out but we have Dads helping out too! That is what I love the most about this group. Our Dads are just as hands on with our girls and boys as Moms are! The page may seem a little simple but my challenge this year was to make a page that could be a complete 'take away'. The page had to be simple enough for totally non-scrapbookers to do with minimal tools (glue sticks and kids scissors) to something that could be taken away by the older kids and done at home again, with only minimal supplies. I enclosed an instruction sheet in each kit with a picture of the final page as a reference. I think next year I'll probably have the same kind of challenge. I'm already thinking about what I can do!
Here are all our girls and boys on the steps inside the newly renovated Ball Hall. (Alexa is in the top row all the way on left with the turquoise top). We ask the kids to dress in Chinese clothes if they have them and want to. Alexa usually balks at this but this year she was willing but we didn't have anything that fit her anymore. Norm will have a shopping list the next time he goes to China! We usually use the horseshoe sitting area in the back of Ball but the weather was not our friend this year. We had to squeeze ourselves in a very little area. We had a total of 51 families registered with 89 kids! WOW!!

This marks the end of the Muir Family Summer 2008 Vacation Tour. Do I get a T-shirt with the tour dates and locations on the back? School starts in approximately 3 weeks. Next, school shopping!! Can't wait...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Donna,
Quite a whirlwind vacation. It sounds like Chinese Culture Weekend went well. The scrapbooking for the kids was a great activity.
We're getting ready for the freshman college driving trek to Washington DC next week. The ultimate back to school shopping...

Barb in NH