Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Accident

On Wednesdays, the kids and I have been going to see summer movie club $1.00 movies pretty much every week (except last week when we had VBS).  Today, we were headed down to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  But by the time we arrived, they'd just sold out!

I had all nine kids, so it wasn't a good day to just turn around and go back home.  Disappointed.  So I decided we'd go to a park and then to Sonic for 1/2-price milkshakes (all day) to celebrate summer solstice.

We headed to Paradise Hills Park, which is a good distance from our neighborhood, but I figured it would be more fun to go somewhere the kids don't get to frequent as often.  It turns out, today was Fun Day In the Park.  (I can't even provide an event link because I guess this is not an advertised, public event, so it was really just God's little surprise that we ended up at that park on this day.)

Basically, all the community centers in the area get together to create a Fun Day for the kids who attend summer camp.  The park was all decked out with several bouncy houses, carnival games, free food and drinks, prizes, a rock-climbing wall, face-painting and a balloon animal creating clown.  Everything kids love.

So I asked the lady in charge (I randomly picked her out of all the people wearing name badges) if this was a public event and how much it cost, etc.  She invited us to join in on the fun -- FOR FREE -- even though the event was technically closed to the public and only for kids in summer camp.  I guess when you drive a big, honkin' white van and you walk around with one adult supervising nine kids, people take pity (or just naturally assume we are a summer camp program).

So heck yes, we joined in.  The kids had an awesome time.  I couldn't have predicted this fun day if I'd tried.  I did not know about it because our kids aren't enrolled in community camps this summer, it was not advertised to the general public, and it took place at a park miles away from our homes where we don't often go.  Wild that God planned it all perfectly for us to get there and reap the blessings of an event we probably couldn't have afforded normally with a group this size!  All for free.

Here are a few pictures (I actually had my camera with me today, but did the settings wrong and came home with very few good photos)...

One funny story is that the kids in line kept bunching up and "forgetting" who was next.  The clown-lady was getting overwhelmed and the staff had all abandoned her to manage the line herself.  I could sense her frustration building and you can see she wasn't much taller than the kids, so she didn't have a very commanding presence.  So I started directing kids to get back into a single-file line and step back to give her some breathing room and stuff.  S watched me, intrigued at how I just jumped in and started doing a job at this event that we weren't even technically supposed to be part of -- I looked at her and said, "I'm doing my volunteer work in the community now.  I told you I love volunteer work."  She just laughed (and was probably a little embarrassed by her old, bossy mom, but that's okay, the clown was sure relieved and grateful for my sticking my nose in).  I felt useful and surprisingly, most of the kids respected my directions as if I was just one of the paid staff out there.

The kids were given a choice of a ladybug, a puppy or a turtle -- I guess to keep things streamlined.  And yes, J did make that shirt for her favorite animal in the world (but not at Fun Day).

So after a couple hours at Fun Day in the Park, we drove up to Sonic and everyone enjoyed 1/2-price shakes and something small to eat for lunch -- though most of them had already had free pizza at the park.  It was hot, but we sat under the cover at the outdoor tables to eat and sip our yummy shakes.

After that, the youth group was getting together to make tie-dye t-shirts to take with them to camp next week.  The home where they gathered was also far from our neighborhood, so I just stayed there with all the younger kids -- who were well-entertained by the family's dogs in the backyard.  I happened to have had a pack of kid-sized white t-shirts with us, so when the teens were all done making their shirts, I asked about extra supplies so the younger kids could make their own.  I know the teen who was in charge pretty well (did her senior portraits earlier this year), so she was happy to help them with that.  Woo!

The rest of the day went as a typical Wednesday might go, except for C being in Vegas still.  But I felt like I'd had a successful day entertaining the group of nine in my care -- and not a minute of television was involved with that today.  Good stuff.  These are the days of summer I hope they remember when the school year kicks into high gear again.  Love it.

Days like this are one of many reasons I love my job.  Plus, I'm glad the movie sold out today.


  1. I'm the first?

    I'm not really caught up with your blog posts, but I couldn't resist your
    "come on" title.

    I was thrilled to find out that we, too, in YC have $1.00 movies on Wednesdays in the summer. I was just concidering taking the great-nephieces sometime. Then I read that you were glad the movie sold out!!! I just can't keep up with you! It sounded fun and exciting, though.

  2. We do enjoy our movie days. I was just really glad it got sold out for today because we wouldn't have gotten all the surprise fun if it hadn't. O, in particular, after all the fun he had, still complained in his wonderful way about missing the movie and how, "I guess we'll NEVER get to see it now." :)

  3. Haha.. just reading your comment about O. I can imagine him saying that. Kids are always so grateful. ;)