Today I had the pleasure of crowning the new Miss Mankato's Outstanding Teen, Chandra Dahlke! Best of luck at the Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen pageant this week! I also had a photo shoot for my Miss Minnesota program book head shots. Miss Minnesota is coming up in 3 months! Get your tickets NOW at www.missminnesota.org!
This week at Awesome Club, we started off with another great brainstorming session. This time around, we discussed potential activities and games that would fit our "Field Day" theme. Some of the ideas included chain tag, bobbing for apples, relay races, frisbee golf, and 3-legged races. With all of the great ideas generated by the high school students, the party is sure to be a hit! After sharing out our plans, we started an epic game of "Mafia." We had an excellent narrator who craftily recounted the horrors of each night's "murder." In the end, the townspeople emerged victorious, exposing the members of the Mafia and saving the town from the threat of future violence. Awesome Club will not meet for the next two weeks, but we look forward to the next meeting on April 7!
Written by Steph Smith, Edited by Natalie Davis
As today was Saint Patrick's Day, after snack time we started out with Red Light, Green Light in honor of the holiday. The boys thought that was funny, and they were very enthusiastic about the game as always. It is fun to watch them try to come up with sneaky ways to move forward without getting caught. They have found the most success by walking forward slowly directly behind someone else so that their feet are blocked! For the rest of Club, they were captivated by open-ended art time. The results were quite impressive, ranging from a rocket ship to a 3-D castle constructed from a fruit snack wrapper. Such a creative group!
Written by Sara Schaenzer, Edited by Natalie Davis
I wrote this essay recently for an application. This is my story. I love my brother so much, and I am so proud of how far he has come.
When I was a child, I knew my brother Trevor was different. He spent hours silently lining up toy cars into perfect rows instead of playing with other kids. He didn’t speak until he was 3, and he couldn’t produce a full sentence until he was 7. Trevor seemed to be in his own little world, but he and I were connected. Even though Trevor couldn’t speak, I always knew what he needed. I was constantly on high alert regarding his emotions and any environmental factors that might upset him. For as long as I can remember, I have been his helper and protector. When kids bullied him, I quickly tried to explain, “He’s special ed.,” hoping they would have mercy. When he threw tantrums because he didn’t want to do his schoolwork, I slyly suggested a game of “tutor” instead. I helped him cover his ears when the sound of a fire truck was too much for him to bear. Things have always been harder for Trevor. I went to a prestigious private school; Trevor was in public school special education. I was invited to countless birthday parties; Trevor wasn’t invited to any. I was the star. I was the pageant queen, singer, athlete, and star student. I seemed to have it all, but I had a brother who struggled. Growing up with an autistic brother has not been easy. I sometimes cry hopelessly when I feel that no one seems to believe in him except my family and me. But when things get tough, my mom reminds me to count my blessings. Despite his challenges, Trevor graduated from high school in the top 50% of his class, and he has recently completed his first semester as a part-time student at St. Cloud State University with straight A’s. Trevor plays piano, he is an excellent public speaker, and he is an Eagle Scout. It occurred to me that Trevor’s differences aren’t all negative. Yes, he faces challenges that most individuals never have to face, but the fact that he has continually overcome those challenges makes Trevor not just different, but extraordinary.
This week at Awesome Club, after enjoying our snack and getting caught up on all the exciting things everyone had done in the past week, we started our plans for the end-of-the-year celebration. Thursday's objective was to come up with a theme for the party. After brainstorming in small groups, we brought our best ideas to the whole group. The crowd favorites included themes such as video games, mafia, and even squirrels! However, after a round of voting, we decided on a field day party, complete with relays, games, and other outdoor activities. It will be a fantastic way to celebrate a successful year of Awesome Club. After deciding on our theme, we played a few games; first, a tricky, mind-twisting, table-slapping game, followed by two rounds of "red light, green light" (in which everyone participated!). It was a productive (and fun, of course) day at Awesome Club and we can't wait to see everyone again next week!
Written by Stephanie Smith; Edited by Natalie Davis
We started out Club today with a review of names since some of the boys did not know all the volunteer's names. Once we got that straighten out, we practiced everyone's name during Red Light, Green Light. The person only had to go back if they were called by the right name! It was a lot of fun and now everyone has all the names figured out. The boys all love to draw so after that, we played a group drawing game where everyone drew for a minute on a picture and then we passed them around the circle. It was fun to see how much our original drawing changed as everyone's ideas were contributed. We have some very talented artists in our group! The game was such a hit that by the time everyone had shared their final product with the group, it was time to leave!
Written by Sara Schaenzer, Edited by Natalie Davis
Steps of Hope is an autism awareness walk held by the Autism Society of Minnesota. This was the fourth time I had attended the event and the third time I have been invited to participate in the opening ceremony. I love this event. Growing up, I often felt alone because I didn't have many people I could talk to about my experience having a loved one with autism. Coming to Steps of Hope reminds me that I am not alone. Over 2,000 walkers crammed inside Ridgedale Mall for this event on March 6. The Autism Society of Minnesota successfully raised over $50,000 to help thousands of people impacted by autism across the state. To learn how to support this event in the future, please visit www.ausm.org.
We had an especially exciting day at Awesome Club this week as we welcomed two new members, a St. Olaf volunteer and a high school student! In order to make the adjustment as fun and easy as possible, we focused on learning names for most of the day (through games, of course!). While eating our snack, we introduced ourselves and something interesting about us. We learned even more about each other while playing the "Fruit Basket Game" and then put our memories to the test in an association game. Every person came up with an alliterative noun that went with their name and the rest of the group did their best to mentally tie the new word to the name. We concluded with a spirited game of "Pictionary", an exciting round of "Red Light, Green Light", and some expert card-playing and tic-tac-toeing. We will see everyone again next week for more fun and games at Awesome Club.
Written by Stephanie Smith, Edited by Natalie Davis
Today at Awesome Club, we started off with snack as usual and caught up with everyone from the previous week. While eating snack, everyone wrote things down to be used in a game of charades/pictionary. The kids then had the choice to either act or draw on the board. We have some pretty good actors and artists at Awesome Club! We then played Red Light, Green Light, which seems to be the new hit!. It was a good opportunity to learn people's names and the kids couldn't help but giggle when they tried not to move when "Red light!" was called.
Written by Natalie Davis