First of all, please congratulate me on completing my 80 independent service hours, that’s 80 extra volunteer hours I’ve completed on my weekends or after work. *bows*
Our most recent ISPs (Independent Service Projects) have been; 1) Working at the Children’s Museum of Lincoln and 2) Staging at the Special Olympics: Nebraska State Games.
I’ll start with “1)”
The Children’s Museum was nothing like the boring picture I had conjured up in my mind. It was child heaven; or maybe inner-child heaven, so us non-children don’t get left out. Three levels of an ultimate playground. A shadow room, prairie dog hill with tunnels, tree house; stage equip with costumes, sound board, and a TV to watch yourself perform; circus mirrors, huge chairs to make your parents seem small, hot air balloon, tractor trailer, speed boat, water jugs to hit and play songs on, post office, grocery store, construction area, fire truck, football field, volleyball court, press box and radio station, pizza shop, spaceship, moon car, puddle jumper, biplane; I’m sorry I could go on all day- you get the idea.
Well, our ISP was held on Superhero Day and seeing that every superhero you could ever want to meet was there (from Police Officers to Firefighters to Batman to Spiderman to Ironman to Tinkerbell to Luke and Leah with R2D2 to Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers) most of us were recruited to be their body guards. You wouldn’t think this would be a difficult task right? We were so wrong. Apparently the Star Wars characters don’t get along with (minus the police officers and firefighters) the other superheroes (a family that does this for a living) and last year they actually got in a fight right there in the museum. That’s intense hatred; if you’re willing to fight at the place employing you, in front of googly eyed, crazy about you children. So the entire time the team was not only doing crowd control with the children and parents but also trying to keep everyone on separate levels. At one point one of the storm troopers actually started walking down the steps, arms raised, shooting his guns into the air, trying to fight Spiderman. I also hear Batman and Spiderman were fighting the entire time, arguing over who was the better hero. Cue rolling eyes. Harry had the difficult job of keeping the mothers from groping Ironman, thank you Robert Downey, Jr.; this Ironman was 16 and freaked, to say the least. Jess, Faith, and I got lucky with the arts and crafts table. It was a slow day, business wasn’t exactly booming. What kid would want to color when they could play in a spaceship next to Darth Vader while Luke walked around with an exact replica of R2D2? I got a few interesting conversations out of the small amount of tikes that did pass through our station, but the day went fairly slow for us- except when we got to play in wonderland ourselves.
Our ISP with the Special Olympics left us exhausted, but beaming. I was reminded of Sherman Lake, when my face was sore from smiling. None of us had worked with the games before yesterday; we had no idea what to expect. We ended up staging for track and field; that’s lining up the athletes-and making sure they stay in line-so they’ll be ready for their race. I’m not sure that any other job would have been as much fun. We were under a tent with chairs, every row was a heat and every chair a lane; once a heat was ready to go we’d lead them to the track and cheer them on. There was a lot of waiting to start for the athletes so we had a lot of time to make friends. All you really needed was a second though; just one second and you’ve made an entire heat of friends who all somehow know your name.
I began this blog with the intention of sharing the details of my day, but now I don’t feel comfortable describing my experience through typing, as I feel it will somehow diminish the story and ultimately the happiness of my memory. I will only tell you that I’m not sure there are many experiences in my life that leave me feeling supremely happy and completely fulfilled; and I don’t think there are any strangers in my life that have become my friends so quickly and briefly and changed my mood so dramatically. So I suppose I will just leave you with the push to ask you to volunteer at the next Special Olympic event in your state.