Monday, November 26, 2007

Simple Gifts

The community sang this song after morning meeting today -- it was so lovely and perfect for this season, I was compelled to find out more. A few renditions are on the YouTube sidebar. Simple Gifts (A bit of a detailed history and analysis can be found at the American Music Preservation site) Lyrics and music by Elder Joseph Brackett at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine, 1848. Aaron Copeland included it in his Appalachian Spring symphony in 1955. Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain'd To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd, To turn, turn will be out delight 'Till by turning, turning we come round right. "

Friday, November 9, 2007

Community Building @ FSP - -use comments to share your thoughts and new ideas!

PLease Send to the Parents... The Fun & Games (AKA community building) meeting notes 1) We believe that the community is diverse, interesting, and full of fun possibilities. We hope all community members will feel free to create spontaneous suggestion and invitations for various activities and outings. We'd love to see the parents group have some money available to support these projects. Many smaller chances to come together feels like the most sustainable model for creating an ongoing sense of community. 2) We feel like we need to choose simple and easy-to-execute ideas for now, perhaps building toward a few larger annual events. We'd like to put forward the idea of a holiday sing-a-long on the last day of school before the December break as a first event -- we are wondering about inviting Hans back to lead it. 3) We'd love to find a way to have a chunk of the parents meetings allow for more socializing, and dialogue, perhaps through a more traditional Quaker Meeting approach or through other shared activities or ice breakers. We suggest opening the next Parents Meeting with the Queries on Giving that the kids are thinking about. 4) Here's the list of brainstormed ideas, in total -- feedback, more ideas, etc. would be great - (I'll also post it on the blog) ... After School Activities * more arts & crafts * Ski Club -- shared transportation * Soccer Game was great model for community building -- more of those kinds of events * Community Service projects -- island clean up (weekly, monthly, quarterly?) -- adopt a school internationally -- Roots & Shoots * Choir * Sing-Alongs (Holidays?) * Peace Pals Club Evening Activities * talent show * art show (kids) * parent education -- reading groups, speaker series, conversation series, etc. * Games Night (at homes, at schools, as fundraiser or not) * Adults only party * Matt Loosgian Concert (see also in-service days) Bigger Annual Event Ideas * Ferry ride around the island (guided) * Common Ground Fair Retreat (would need this to be built into the schools calendar - go to Friday of CGF and stay in Friends Camp cabins) * Camping together * Winter Carnival * Spring Thing (need to debrief) * Children's Book Festival organized by Kirstin Cappy in June In-Service Day Ideas * community skiing -- shared transportation and participation on a weekly basis and/or a community trip on the March in-service day * Invite an artist in for an enrichement program * Matt Loosigian concert : He has his own website, and does his own parties and concerts completely separate from Music Together. His tagline is: "Teaching peace, compassion and environmental justice through silliness and song." He played at Common Ground this year. -- maybe for Earth Day? Other * Work on physical space together -- some parents have talent and expertise in the physical space and could help lead a beautification process inside and out * Strategies for welcoming new famllies -- concern that the pot-lucks aren't safe for kids (the hallway) and kids get bored with adult talk * Tidy up the lounge in the back (old entrance) as a family lounge Some of these ideas could be up and running with the ummph of one person, other ideas are fairly resource intense and would need more buy-in and resources. Again, please encourage kids to put ideas in the suggestion box and please share any of your best experiences from other schools / best ideas -- it is fun to capture the big list and then we can all be inspired to take action...

Healthy Toys for Our Kids

Are you angry that manufacturers of children's products use lead, vinyl, chemical flame retardants, and thousands of other hazardous chemicals linked to learning disabilities, cancer and other health problems? Are you worried that over 20 million toys have been recalled just in the past few months? Do you think our government should require testing of chemicals and products BEFORE they enter our homes and our bodies? You're not alone. Mainers like you are working to protect our families from unnecessary, hazardous chemicals in the products we use every day. But they need your help. On December 1st, we'll provide a one-day crash course in the Portland area that will prepare you to be part of our campaign, educate your friends and neighbors, and help make a difference. We'll cover: * major chemical threats to children's health; * the newest resources on safer products; * demystifying the chemical alphabet soup; * and how to help your family, friends, and neighbors take action. The workshop will last from approximately 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM and will be held in Portland or nearby. We'll also provide resource materials for you to take home and lunch. Please let us know if you are interested so we can plan ahead.