Student Government Campaigns

If you managed to brave the mess in my garage – climbing over empty boxes and stacks of curriculum, dodging toys and Christmas decorations – you might stumble (literally, sorry) on my high school yearbook. To say that I was an extra-curricular activity junkie is painfully accurate – president of the French Club, secretary of National Honor Society, involved in Students Against Drunk Driving and the anti-smoking drama club, editor on the literary magazine, student government rep, blah, blah, blah. Looking back, it’s a wonder I did any actual school work.

High School Prom - quick picture with Dad

High School Prom – quick picture with Dad

So, I guess it’s not totally surprising that life would circle back to throw me into a Student Government class. This time it’s with our homeschool co-op, and I get to teach, guide and encourage the next generation of leaders. It is an honor and a privilege. We study, brainstorm, learn, and do a LOT of laughing. I should pretty much pay them for letting me teach.

The culmination of our government class is rapidly approaching. Very exciting! The elections are next week. We’ve got 8 students running for the different positions. The campaign process has been so interesting to watch. Oftentimes I feel we have a very precise, orderly, well laid out plan we’re following, and at other times I feel like we are just making it up as we go. Which might just be the story of my life!

I thought it would be helpful (ie, this blog serves as my memory and journal) to highlight the steps we’ve followed thus far (feel free to steal or share any of our ideas):

1) Nomination Forms – the first step was completing the necessary paperwork
Instructions, Student Support & Teacher Recommendation

2) Posters – each candidate was required to do 1 poster the first week and up to 2 additional posters as the campaign progressed.

David used Publisher, changed the custom paper size to fit a poster, and printed the pages in a tiled manner. So this poster printed on eight pages, which we trimmed and taped together.

Shhhh- don't tell.  I'm definitely voting for David!

Shhhh- don’t tell. I’m definitely voting for David!

Other students hand painted/drew their posters. Some printed out their slogans and glued them onto poster board in block form. The creativity, design, and format of the posters was left up to the candidates. And I can’t lie, they turned out great!

3) Campaign Videos – each nominee had to make a 30 to 45 second long video.

I was most concerned about this aspect of our campaign, but today’s teens are tech-savvy and the kids were undaunted by the assignment. In class we watched a sample I found online, discussed what they needed to include in their video, and set the rest of the parameters.

Here’s a look at David’s video on YouTube

We showed the 8 campaign videos at the beginning of lunch today at co-op. Creative, unique, some funny, others serious, all of them utilized music in their production. Basically the videos were fantastic! The other students cheered, laughed and applauded for the candidates. It was a great display of student spirit!

4) Meet the Candidates – a lunch time Meet & Greet time with all the nominees.

We hung all of the campaign posters on the wall directly behind some tables, swathed in patriotic bunting. Most of the kids had a giveaway, treat or sticker of some kind. There were individually wrapped Smarties, golden chocolate coins, and even homemade baklava. Several of the candidates used printable labels to make campaign sticker “buttons.” And one girl designed a small “dollar bill” with her face and name on it. Love the creativity!! “Just mint to be the Treasurer!” it said, and she stapled on a green candy mint to give away.

The students were required to meet at least 5 people they didn’t know (shaking hands and introducing themselves). All of the candidates took it seriously and spent most of the lunch period talking to people.

5) Speeches – next week we will do short, live speeches during the opening of co-op.

The candidates are required to share three things:
a. Why they want to run
b. Why we should vote for them
c. What they are going to do for the co-op

6) Election – we will run our elections next week over the lunch period (more on that to follow)

Can you "earn" a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

Can you “earn” a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

It’s been a growing experience for the class, the candidates, and the rest of co-op. I can’t wait to see how the elections turn out. Stay tuned!

Project 365 – Day 100 (Wow – the 100th Blog Post of 2015!!!!)

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Training Begins

Yesterday Daniel picked up his work uniform (slacks – check, shirt – check, shoes – too small). Today he began training for his new job at Chick-Fil-A. It’s exciting enough that this part of Washington is finally getting it’s own famous chicken restaurant, but to have it also coincide with a job for Daniel? Wonderful!

Can't pose for pictures when I'm getting my shoes on.

Can’t pose for pictures when I’m getting my shoes on.

We are all so pleased and proud of Daniel getting hired on the spot after his interview. It’s been several months since his last regular job ended. He’s been living off of side jobs and yard work (and driving my minivan) to pay the bills. I know he has been frustrated not to find work. How kind of the Lord to open the door for Daniel to work for such a god-honoring establishment.

It will be interesting to watch how things unfold. Daniel is a diligent, hard worker, so I know they will be glad they hired him. He’s had his afternoons and evenings mostly free for some time now; it will be a challenge to give that up for a demanding job. At the same time, I also know he’s ready for the squeeze on his empty wallet to end. He’s eager to start earning money again. Daniel has such a big heart – he is generous and likes helping others. Last month he signed up to sponsor a Compassion International child. And earlier this week he wanted to give money to AirOne’s radio fund raising drive.

That smile says I'm going off to work!

That smile says I’m going off to work!

We are praying for you, Daniel! We are proud of you and are your biggest cheerleaders.
“Goooooo, Daniel!!”
Next week you’ll turn 18 AND start your new job. Wow!! Changing times. We love you!

Project 365 – Day 98

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Low Carb

A bunch of us in this household are trying to lose some weight. When I had surgery about 18 months ago, I lost 30 pounds, but I have gained most of it back, especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. So we’ve been trying to eat according to a plan that limits our carbohydrate intake.

As it turns out, I like carbs. I am terribly fond of sweet and starchy foods which (who knew?) are both high-carb. So my habit of eating ice cream every night had to go.

It looked so promising -- "Triple Chocolate" -- what could go wrong with a flavor like that?

It looked so promising — “Triple Chocolate” — what could go wrong with a flavor like that?

It has been several months now, and I’m stuck at about the 8-pound mark. I can’t seem to drop below my pre-Thanksgiving weight without (gasp!) going hungry for extended periods of time or exercising (or both). Every time I start to lose some weight, I sabotage myself and gain it all back. It is very discouraging.

So you can imagine my delight when I found this low-carb ice cream at the store. I love the main-stream and the ‘light’ flavors of Dreyers ice cream, and I really miss my evening dessert — this seemed a perfect answer to my dilemma.

Sadly, it doesn’t taste very good. It really isn’t much like ‘real’ ice cream. It tastes about the way you’d expect it to taste, when you read those fateful words: “No sugar added”. No sweet, creamy goodness — just a half-hearted mockery of what ice cream could have been.

So we doctored it up a little with some Nestle Nesquik. A good dusting of Nesquik covers over a multitude of culinary sins.

Just a spoonful of Quik makes the medicine go down ...

Just a spoonful of Quik makes the medicine go down …

And since (as you can clearly discern from the label) the Nesquik now has 25% less sugar, we’re even better off! With these kind of dieting strategies, we’re practically guaranteed to lose weight fast!

I’ll keep you posted.

Project 365, Day 97

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AWANA Work Continues

This has been a significant year for the AWANA program at our church. We have been working since the Fall to integrate more and more of the administrative aspect of AWANA onto the computer. Tim has developed a unique AWANA website program for us. The children, leaders and volunteers are all registered on the system. We can move kids from team to team online, track their attendance and easily maintain the general records. All of the check-ins are done on the computer, and we have moved away from much of our former paperwork. It’s been an exciting process.

Not everything is done on the computer.

Not everything is done on the computer.

Our incredible AWANA Admin person retired last year, and all summer I think we were either in shock or denial because NO ONE stepped up to do her job. NO ONE contacted her to talk about the work or the details involved in running admin. NO ONE got her files or did any prep work at all.

"Yes, get me an admin person.  Immediately!"

“Get me an admin person. Immediately! Yes, I’ll wait.”

"Who Me?  No, I'm not available."

“Who Me? I can’t do it, I’m only in the 7th grade.”

Cue panic when September hit and the directors all realized NO ONE was in charge or running the administrative details. After many emails back and forth with the Commander and several LONG, PAINFUL evenings with parents trying to register and pay for the program, we finally got things up and running. As Mrs. T&T Director the last few years, I handled all of Tim’s T&T paperwork and behind the scenes work. This year I quickly realized I was the logical choice to serve as the AWANA administrative secretary. Maybe I knew it all along and was just in deep denial over the summer. Ha.

"Show me that again."

“Show me that again.”

"Mom, it's really more fun playing with toys than working on silly AWANA paperwork."

“Mom, it’s really more fun playing with toys than working on silly AWANA paperwork.”

It has been a year full of trial and error as we’ve transitioned things onto our web site, made mistakes, fed parents cookies and treats as they stood in long lines, had fantastic successes, enjoyed the ease of computerized check-ins and quick changes, etc. I have been so blessed over the years as God has brought me creative, talented, patient admin staff (Love you, Jacque and Sally). This year, I have another wonderful partner in crime administration, and she consistently has my back on the busy AWANA evenings, helps me think about what we modify and change, and calms me down when I’m feeling frantic. Thank you, Krystal!!

As the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I definitely have to say the computer program has turned out fantastic! There are, of course, so many more things I’d like it to do. Thankfully I live with the programmer and can beg/request programming time this summer. Thanks, Tim. You’re my favorite computer guy!!

Today Krystal and I met to work on posters for the different clubs. We have at least six computer-run check in stations for the kids each week. We use a long wall divider as a backdrop for our registration and check in area. At one end are the Sparks (k-2nd grader) and the other end are the T&T’ers (3rd-5th grade). At the beginning of the year I had the names written on large sheets of paper and hung on the divider behind us. After some more brainstorming with Krystal, we came up with a great idea for using colored poster board and individual print outs of the kids’ names. That way we can easily move them around from team to team and kids come and go.

Marco the Cat is so helpful with these projects.

Marco the Cat is so helpful with these projects.

Krystal already has an idea for how we can change the team posters for next year. As I said, she’s wonderful! We are constantly improving and modifying things to make sure they run smoothly and efficiently! Can’t wait. I love serving the kids in this capacity. And I am so grateful to the leadership at our church that encourages innovation, creativity and change (when needed).

Project 365 – Day 96

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