29 June 2007

Day 5 - I'm home!

Hmm, I have a post in a word document. But, my computer won't connect to the internet.

Oh well. Let me sum up day four.

Eleven hours of travel time. 9+ in a plane. Almost two stuck in Vegas while our scheduled plane underwent "mechanical maintenance." Over an hour on the runway in Philadelphia when they stop flights from taking off due to the weather.

That is a really long time to travel. To make up for it, I slept until 11am Pacific this morning.

I'll be back, even if I have to use my friend's phone line to connect through dialup.

27 June 2007

Day 3 - the day of workshops

No pictures today.
The day was filled with workshop after workshop.

I listened to one about cyber safety that made me come upstairs and "unsave" all of my passwords. Followed, by lunch. Which I didn't much eat. Because in Philadelphia they apparently love their bell peppers and onions. And I couldn't even pick them out of the food that's how many there were in every dish for lunch and dinner the last two days.

After lunch, I found out my leadership style and how to recruit underclassmen to the organization.
Then we went to dinner at the mall. We went to Rock Bottom, where it was once again difficult to find anything I would be willing to eat.

I bought these shoes in pink for my friend's little girl. At less than half price. With no tax. Did you know in Pennsylvania (or at least here) there is no tax on clothes or shoes? How cool is that?

Tomorrow we have closing session. And then catch a flight out of here at about 330pm. In the middle of possible thunderstorms. Yay. Have I mentioned how much I hate flying?

26 June 2007

Day 2 - Outreach to Teach

Today we went to an elementary school for this project called Outreach to Teach. With Outreach to Teach, we painted, redid bulletin boards and laid 20,000 square feet of sod. This school never had grass before.

Working on a bulletin board as requested by the teacher

The finished product

Another one that we worked on - I did the lettering on the screen - learning + math = fun!

The new grass, and playground rules. The rocks are made out of tire rubber!

Bonus points if you know where the words come from! This mural sits in the cafeteria.

25 June 2007

Photo blogging my way across the country

The stop was in Vegas. I should have guessed...

Lake Mead

Grand Canyon

Canyon again...

Cool circles

A mountain... not sure which one, maybe one of the Rockies?

Peeking through the clouds, cool picture!

More to come, if I don't get pictures of people... I'm still not at that point yet on here...

24 June 2007

Off to Philadelphia for the next four days.

I'm excited. Even if I'm not particularly looking forward to the plane rides. And why doesn't ANYTHING tell me where my plane is going to stop? It does not take 6 hours and 45 minutes to fly across the country (yes, I calculated after taking into consideration the time difference).

Oh well, I guess I'll know tomorrow!

05 June 2007

Jason Kendall - A Class Act

Last weekend, as I mentioned, I went to baseball. We all know how passionate I am about baseball and how much fun I have at the games, but this weekend there were moments that almost brought me to tears (and they do not involve the designation for assignment of one of my favorites).

I don’t know how much I’ve talked about where I sit or who I sit with when I attend games, but it’s important to know that for this story. When I go to a game, I sit in the left field bleachers. The left field bleachers are home to a group of people who attend 81 games a year (or more if there are playoff games). They bring flags and drums. They arrive hours before a game, and stay long after it ends.

The story centers around the drummers and their relationship with a group of very special children.

There is a teacher in the Oakland area, who teaches a group of students with special needs. She brings these students to a ballgame, once or twice a year and last year the group pulled out little drums to play along with the drummers. The drummers were so touched by their presence that they joined the group, giving up their seats to seat with the kids. This year the students returned, and once a gain the drummers had company. After the game, one of the drummers asked the A’s catcher, Jason Kendall, if he would sign a bat or a ball to send to the students in this class. He said he would, without hesitation.

On Saturday, Chantel, Jason’s wife, told Duke (one of the drummers, the one who I spent the most time talking with) that Jason had forgot, but he was taking care of it that day and the ball boys would run it up to her in the suite on Sunday. In the middle of the first inning Sunday, Chantel called Duke up to the window of the suite and handed him three items. Not only was there a bat signed by Jason Kendall, but the entire Oakland Athletics roster, including the players on the disabled list (far too many to discuss) took the time to sign the bat (Kendall personalized it to the PH class at Thornton Junior High). Inside a yellow sock there were two balls, that we did not pull out until the third or fourth inning. Upon removing them, we discovered that they too were signed by every player on the roster.

In less than 24 hours, Kendall had managed to get every player to sign items for a group of children who are often ignored, and get very little recognition. On Sunday, I learned a lot about Jason Kendall. His mom teaches a group of students with special needs. He cares, he’s shy and quiet, but he has a lot of compassion and understanding.

When he was in high school, he saw a rival become a vegetable after a car accident. Jason was by his bedside, knowing that it could have been him, that you’re only one step away. Last year, upon learning about a boy with cancer, whose favorite players are Kendall and Jason Varitek from the Boston Red Sox, Kendall flew the boy up from Southern California when Boston was in town. He brought the child onto the field during batting practice so that he could meet his heroes and be the star of the day.

When asked to sign a bat, Jason could have easily said no. He could have scribbled his name quickly on a ball and walked away. Instead he took the time to personalize and present a bat given by a team to a class of students. Jason Kendall is a class act. I know I certainly see him in a different light after this weekend.

I know that when Duke delivers the items to the children within the next week or so there are going to be a lot of tears and a lot of excitement. Enjoy your gifts PH Class of Thornton Junior High. Enjoy attending the games. And keep drumming!