We were late for gymnastics today because I had not anticipated the delightful gabfest that voting on the school budget would present. I’d delayed going to vote until after school because I had the vague idea that my children were required to accompany me in order to participate in their vote for the best flavor of Popsicle. Every year the kids vote on something while they’re at school in an attempt to encourage good citizenship while simultaneously goading the parents into actually practicing good citizenship as well. I should have remembered that the Popsicle Polling was at school.. But for some reason, this year, their discussion regarding the Popsicle Issue was so passionate that I thought they were doing something special, like going to the polling place in order to register their fake fruit flavor preference. Nope: I was wrong again. The girls arrived home announcing the big results: cherry by a 2-to-1 margin, followed by orange, then grape.
When I mentioned voting, both girls were excited to come along. This puzzled me, because for most elections, I drag them while they moan about how boring it is. Then I remembered:
The girls know that I’m a sucker for a used book sale. Actually, the pickings were slim, but we spent some loose change.
Free with our voting, we were offered the opportunity to complete a survey. I found it quite cathartic.
But the best was seeing so many people. There were neighbors and old nursery-school era friends I rarely see, teachers from the school, and all sorts of folks I knew I knew from somewhere. The kids found friends, too, and between all the greetings and chatting, we were there way too long. I downgraded dinner to frozen tortellini and sauce, and when J went for thirds, I rolled my eyes and popped the last bit of pasta into a carry-out case.
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I’m going to practice good citizenship by sharing a news item I heard about from A Mighty Girl. NASA G.I.R.L.S is a free summer mentoring program for girls entering 5th to 8th grade. Basically, a female NASA mentor will â€œmeetâ€ her mentee for an hour once a week via Skype or webcam or whatever, and she’ll encourage her to get excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math). This summer is their first time they’re trying it, so it’s a pilot project. They’re choosing 15 to 20 girls at random from eligible girls who enter. Which means that I really didn’t want to share this information with you at all. By spreading the word, I’m diminishing M’s chances (See? That’s the â€œMâ€ in STEM at work). So I wasn’t going to share this.
But then I had to share it with one friend, whose daughter was a clear candidate for the program. And then I wanted to share it with Debra Ross, a self-proclaimed geeky mother of daughters. I knew Debra would want to pass the information along, because she’s always trying to make the world a better place by getting kids active and involved and exposed to creative concepts and big ideas. Blah, blah, blah. No, I’m kidding about the blah-blah part, but that was really her main impetus for starting KidsOutAndAbout.
When I took time to think about it, I realized that I mostly started Capital District Fun because I was worried about new mamas. I wanted to send out a lifeline to any mamas who was feeling isolated, bored, depressed, or lonesome. When I first heard Deb wax on about how children who are out, active, and learning are going to make the world a better place, I thought, â€œGosh, that’s a lovely side-product.â€
Anyway, it occurred to me that this is an opportunity to make the world a better place by spreading the word about a cool STEM program for girls. So I’m doing it, grudgingly. Maybe Deb’s karma will come back to us.