centralmaine.com Photo by Joe Phelan
Today’s guest author Marti is mother of five and grandmother of nine. She is a former Primary President, now in the Stake Primary Presidency. She is retired from dental hygiene and is now working as a real estate agent.
As a Stake Primary Presidency, one of our goals has been to help the children to realize they are not alone as church members, even though they may be the only member in their school. We felt that a bonding activity with other children from the stake would help accomplish this goal, as well as increase their social skills. We also wanted to have a fun activity which would help children earn some Faith In God requirements.
We thought we’d look into holding it at a local state park called Borderland. The park ranger planned several activities and provided the supplies. The only cost to those attending was the parking fee of $5 per car, with senior citizens free! With stake activities, we never know how many children will actually show up, but the park was very flexible around attendance. The Stake Primary provided the food and the take-aways. We also did a little introductory game at the beginning so the children could meet each other and find out which ward they were from. This made for a simple and affordable activity.
We chose a date at the end of August, when most families would be back from vacations but sports and school activities would not have started yet. A date in late May or June might also work, after sports seasons and before the end of school. I met with Ranger Paul, who had many suggestions for group activities no matter how many children actually attended. He asked us to inform him of an approximate number of attendees two weeks before. They had a special public event planned for the day we had chosen, with two professional entymologists doing a Discovery Walk Insect Tour at 10 AM, and we could plan our activity work around that. He suggested the following itinerary:
9:00 Tour, Games, & Stations: The children were divided into groups that could go on a tour, play old-fashioned lawn games (crochet, bocce, pick up stix, provided by the state park), or visit stations (identifying skins of various animals, or dissecting owl pellets, which are clusters of what owls cough up that can’t be digested, such as bones and skulls of other critters). The park provided rubber gloves and hand sanitizer, too.
10:00 Discovery Insect Walk: Some children brought their own nets, and the park provided some as well.
11:00 Lunch: We could use their kitchen or bring a portable gas grill. We decided to grill and provided hot dogs, watermelon, potato chips, fruit snacks and water bottles.
As a memento for the day we gave each child a zipper pull with a crown and star to remind them that they are children of royalty and divine birth, a light to those around them, and that their example can be a positive influence as stated in Romans 5:19: “…by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Each of us CAN influence others around us, for good. “Always wear your invisible crown,” said Elaine Dalton in April 2010 General Conference.
Our goals of having fun, making new friends, experiencing the power of gathering with fellow saints, understanding we’re not alone in our quest to keep God’s commandments, all the while surrounded by nature and His glorious creations, were achieved. You may find local state or national parks in your area might have similar program offerings!
Download the Hingham Stake Primary Activity flyer and permission slip.