Jan 10, 2007
Yesterday I was "project manager" for our volunteer event with the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Through the Grand Rapids Junior League, I have the opportunity to volunteer with a group of innercity youth in Grand Rapids. We fondly call it the "Girls Rule Club." The girls range from ages 8-11. It's a small age gap, but the girls seem to mature pretty fast.
For my event, I took the girls on an imaginary Hawaiian luau. We started with snacks - fruit kabobs and punch. Not surprisingly, some had never eaten papaya or seen starfruit. I taught them a little about Hawaii through a trivia game much like Jeopardy (thanks for the idea Kim). We learned some fun facts about the bad luck associated with taking lava rock home and why sharks attack surfers (from underwater they look like seals). We discussed the Hawaiian alphabet, which only contains seven consonants and each consonant in a word must be followed by a vowel. Therefore, each word ends in a vowel - think about it. We also talked about the formation of volcanoes. Did you all know each of the Hawaiian islands was formed from a volcano?! I should have known that, but I just didn't. I had the kids attention for about 10 minutes - or until they each got a prize lei for answering. Beyond that, they were crawling under the tables and chasing each other around.
The highlight of the day for me and the kids was the hula teacher. When I thought of this idea, I didn't think it would come together so easily. I searched for hula instructor on the wonderful internet and up popped the Pacific Island Dancers in GR. Bethany, our teacher, is actually from the Philippines. She dressed up right down to the tea leaves and taught us two hula dances as well as a little Tahitian. I wasn't so great at Tahitian - but as Shakira says "My hips don't lie." The girls loved Bethany. They had so many questions for her and treated her like a celebrity.
It was fun for sure, but I'm glad my event is over. I was overly concerned about how to keep their attention for so long. I'm sure glad I'm not in charge of the next event....manner school. Now I can move on to the next task at hand - mapping out a vegetable garden for next spring. It's been so warm that I can't help thinking about it.