Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Look for the Helpers"

After the Boston Marathon tragedy recently, there were some words from the late "Mr. Rogers" going around on the internet.  Fred Rogers said that when he was a little boy and saw a sad story on the news, his mom would often say to him, "Look for the helpers.  You'll always find people helping."   What a great way to help our children find hope in the middle of hopelessness.

Sometimes these helpers are professionals who put their life on the line every day for others.  But just as often, the helpers are unknown citizens who happened to be in the right place at the right time wanting to help their fellow man.   For these "Average Joe's", there is a program in Yamhill County that exists to provide   free disaster preparedness training so local citizens can effectively help in their neighborhoods and businesses BEFORE the first responders arrive to the scene.

You see, it is common knowledge among experts that at most disasters, "first responders" are not usually the first to respond.    Before professionals are able to find you and then get to you, the FIRST responders - your neighbors, family, friends, co-workers and anyone else present when the disaster takes place - are already at work doing whatever they can.  While everyone is relieved when the professionals arrive, we can't assume they will always be there right when we need them.  That's why this program is so important.

CERT - which stands for "Community Emergency Response Team" - is offered in many cities across the nation.  The Yamhill County CERT program  provides an 8-week training course to any resident or employee in the county. 

When there is no crisis to put their skills into practice, the CERT volunteers stay busy educating the public at fairs and the like and also help with crowd-control at big events.  They're going to be supporting us at our July 4th event this year and we're just thrilled about that.

If you are interested in learning more about CERT and class details, you can go to the following link and email the director.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Halloween isn't the only Holiday for Costumes

The above picture on the left shows a local Girl Scout dressed as a pioneer girl, in memory of the Lafayette pioneer women of 1854.  At a Fourth-of-July event held that year, there was no flag to to be found for the celebration (and no easy way to go get one - many had just arrived off the Oregon Trail).  So the ladies of Lafayette came together to hand sew a flag.
Thanks to the Yamhill County Historical Society who loaned us their pioneer costumes, our girls looked like real 19th Century "lassies" and learned about pioneer history in the process.

The "soldier" in the above right photo was a  Revolutionary War soldier at one of our events.  His mom used his old baseball pants for knickers and turned a cheap, kids cowboy hat into a tri-corn hat.  A seamstress altered a woman's blazer for them and 'Voile!' - he looked like a true "blue coat" (as seen in the above photo).

Letting kids dress up like historical characters is an incredible way to make history fun both for the parents and kids.  It brings history to life and helps a child make a personal connection to the past.  What better day to do that than on our nation's birthday? 

The internet is loaded with costume websites where you can browse the different characters available.  They have everything from George Washington to fictional American icons like "Lady  Liberty" and "Uncle Sam".   Here's just a few such sites:

Even if your kids won't be in a parade, these costumes would make for great conversation starters at your next Fourth-of-July bash.  Put your little tykes in charge of welcoming guests and have a party that is not only fun but educational as well!