Archive for July, 2012

Maria Needs to Listen to Directions

Monday, July 30th, 2012

mariaSometimes Maria doesn’t listen carefully when her parents, grandma, teachers and friends give her directions.

When Maria doesn’t listen, she makes mistakes. Sometimes she misses out on fun; sometimes she makes others miss out on fun.

Last week, Maria was invited to join Kathy, Annie, and their grandma, Grandma Maureen, for the new movie opening at the “Can Do” Theater on Saturday. When Kathy invited her, she said, “Maria, we will meet you in front of the theater at 2 PM. The movie starts at 2:15 PM. Be sure to ask your mom if you can come and call me and let me know.”

Maria was so excited about being invited to the movies, that she only half listened to Kathy’s directions. When Maria got home, she asked her mom if she could go to the movies on Saturday. Her mom said yes and she called Kathy and gave her the good news.

When Saturday came, Maria reminded her mom that she needed a ride. She needed to meet Kathy and Annie and Grandma Maureen at 2PM. When they got in the car, Maria’s mom asked where Maria needed to meet everyone. Maria thought a minute. She wasn’t quite sure, but she told her mom they were meeting at Grandma Maureen’s house.

When they got to Grandma Maureen’s, Maria’s mom waited in the car while Maria went up to the house and rang the bell. Grandpa John answered and looked surprised to see Maria. “Why Maria, you are supposed to meet Grandma Maureen and the girls in front of the movie theater. It’s 2 PM now, and the movie starts at 2:15 PM. You are going to make everyone miss the opening of the movie. You better hurry. I will call Grandma Maureen on her cell phone and tell her you are on your way”

Maria ran back to the car and told her mom that she got the directions wrong. They drove to the theater and saw Grandma Maureen and the girls waiting for them.

As Maria kissed her mom goodbye, her mom told her they would have a talk about taking directions when she got home from the movies.

Maria ran up to everyone and apologized for being late. Kathy turned to her and said,”Maria, if you made us miss the opening of the movie, because you didn’t listen to my directions, I am going to be so mad at you!”

When they got into the movies, the coming attractions of other movies were still being shown. Lucky for Maria that she didn’t make everyone late for the opening scene of the movie they came to see.

When Maria got home, her mom sat her down and they went over what had happened that day because Maria hadn’t listened to directions. Her mom said,”To understand what people are telling you to do, you have to be a good listener. You must listen carefully to directions if you hope to remember them and use them successfully.”

Then Maria’s mom gave her these hints on being a careful listener:

  1. Don’t talk when you are supposed to be listening. Your ears work best when your mouth is closed

  2. Look at the person giving you directions. When your eyes and ears work together, it is easier to understand things.

  3. If you don’t understand what is being said to you, ask questions. It’s better to ask when being given directions than make a mistake later.

Maria listened carefully to her mom. She promised to practice careful listening and use the tips her mom gave her about listening to directions.

The Lost Relay Race

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Jay got home from visiting his grandparents just in time to be part of the annual camp relay race.

Jay was the fastest runner of all the “Can Dos.” Willie, Bobby, and Hector were so glad to see him. Jay was going to be the fourth member of the “Can Do’ Street Community Center relay race team. They really needed Jay if they were going to win the relay race. They were racing against a four-boy team from Buddiville, the next town over from “Can Do”Street.

There was a lot riding on the race.”Can Do” Street teams had won for the past four years and year five meant a cash prize of $500 to support programs at the “Can Do” Street Community Center. Willie, Bobby, Hector and Jay wanted to be able to win the prize for “Can Do” Street and for the Community Center.

Willie, Bobby and Hector met every morning for weeks before the race to practice under the watchful eye of Coach Campbell. Jay ran track each day, on the Indian reservation, while he was visiting his grandparents.

raceThe day of the race was clear and sunny. It was not too warm. It was a good day for a race.

The stands were packed with parents and grandparents and kids from “Can Do” Street and Buddiville there to cheer on their teams.

The four-boy team from Buddiville arrived on time. The two teams met, shook hands and took their places on the track.

Hector was the first to run. He made good time in the first leg of the race. He was ahead of the boy from Buddiville when he reached the spot in the track where Bobby would take over and race the second leg of the race.

Bobby ran as fast as he could, but not fast enough to reach where Willie would take over the third leg of the race. The boy from the Buddiville team running against Bobby was really fast! Wow, could he run!  He got to his team member faster than Bobby got to Willie.

When Willie started out on the third leg of the race, the boy from Buddiville was in the lead. Try as he might, he couldn’t catch up with him and then pass him.

When Willie got to Jay, the boy from Buddiville was already way ahead. Jay ran harder and faster than he ever did before, but the boy from Buddiville was also a good runner and had a large lead over Jay to begin with.

The team from Buddiville won. Willie, Bobby, Hector and Jay felt so bad, but they practiced good sportsmanship and shook the hands of the boys from Buddiville and congratulated them on their win.

Coach Campbell followed the “Can Do” team into the locker room and had them sit down on a bench so he could speak with them .

“Did you all try your best, run your hardest, run your fastest?” Coach looked at the boys after asking his questions, waiting for them to answer.The boys all nodded yes. “Than there is nothing more you could have done,” said Coach.

“But we didn’t win,” said Hector. “Sometimes our best isn’t enough,” said Coach. “Sometimes the other team is better that us, faster than us, and they win. Sometimes we are better than the other team and we win. That’s just the way it is.”

“It hurts to lose,” said Bobby. “Yes, it does,” said Coach, “But remember, you are not losers…you lost a race, to a team that could run faster than you, that’s all. You’ve won before and you will win again.”

The boys sat quietly for awhile, letting what Coach said sink in, then they got up and followed the Coach outside to joining their family and friends for a barbeque.  To their surprise, the crowd started clapping when they saw them and yelling out, “Good race, good team work, good try.”

Willie, Hector, Bobby and Jay learned something that race day…winning isn’t always possible, but trying hard, working together and being good sports is what it is all about.

The Indoor-Outdoor Camp Overnight

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

campThe “Can Dos” had been looking forward to the camp overnight for weeks.

They were ready to sleep outdoors, in pup tents, just like the big kids do. Well, not exactly like the big kids do. Their camp overnight was going to be in the small park behind the “Can Do” Street Community Center, not in the woods. But still, it would be dark and they would have a camp fire and sit around toasting marshmallows and telling stories.

Yep, that was the plan. Then came the rain. There went the outdoor overnight; in came the indoor camp overnight.

Coach Campbell, who was in charge of the overnight, and a few of the camp counselors helped the “Can Dos” bring their gear indoors and set up their tents in the community center gym.

The “Can Dos” were disappointed and complaining about their bad luck. Coach Campbell had them stop what they were doing and form a sitting circle, on the floor, in the middle of the gym.

“Hey,” said Coach, “What is all the whining and complaining about? Are you going to let a little rain ruin a fun time with your friends”?

Hector was the first to answer, “We can’t toast marshmallows at an indoor camp. Then Annie said,”We can’t sit around a campfire.” Then Willie, who sometimes is a Gloomy Gus, said, “We might as well go home, there’s nothing to do here.”

Coach Campbell shook his head. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing! “I thought you were all “Can D0″ kids, kids who were positive and could make the best of things when they didn’t go exactly as planned.  Doesn’t anyone have any ideas about how to have fun at an indoor camp overnight.”?

Jay raised his hand and said, “We may not be able to sit around a fire, but, we can sit in a circle, like we are doing now. We can turn on the flashlights, that we brought with us for our outdoor camp overnight, and turn out the lights. Then we can tell campfire stories.”

Coach was pleased to see that most of the “Can Dos” were nodding in approval at Jay’s idea. With that, Bobby raised his hand and said, “We can use our flashlights to make hand puppet images on the wall. We can all focus our flashlights on the same place and each of us can take turns making a hand puppet on the wall.” There were more nods of approval.

Hector was still concerned about food at the indoor camp, asking “What are we going to eat?”

Coach Campbell laughed and answered,” We are going to play grab bag snack and trade.” The “Can Dos” all stared at him and Nellie called out,” How do you play that ?” Coach pulled a big bag out of his large camp bag and said, “I came prepared for a change in plans. I listened to the weather report this morning, then I went to the store and got a bunch of healthy, individual size snacks and put them in this bag. There are bags of air-popped corn, pretzels, 100 calorie oatmeal raisin cookies and other goodies.

When it is your turn, you reach in the bag and take one snack. When everyone has picked a snack the trading can begin. If you don’t get a snack you like or can trade for one, you can put it back and grab for a different snack. “

So, that is what they did; sat in a circle, grabbed and traded snacks, then ate them sharing camp fire stories and making hand puppets on the wall. Before they knew it, it was time for sleep.

Coach and the counselors walked the “Can Dos” to the restrooms before they got into their tents for sleeping.

Soon there was no more giggling or whispering. The “Can Dos” were asleep.

The next morning, Coach called everyone into the camp circle and asked if the “Can Dos” had a good time at the camp overnight. They all nodded yes.

Then Maria raised her hand and said, “Not only was it fun, but there were no bugs, and no sounds from critters that live outdoors to scare us at the indoor camp!

Movie Night

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

movieMovie night at the “Can Do” Street Community Center is a big deal.

The “Can Dos” get to go to a movie with each other, under the watchful eyes of their camp counselors. No parents, grandparents or teachers allowed!

The movie starts at 6:30 PM every Friday night, during camp, and is over by 8:30 PM. Parents drop the “Can Dos” off with their counselors and pick them up from their counselors when the movie lets out.

Each “Can Do” gets $1 from their parents on movie night. Admission is 75 cents and snacks are 25 cents.

Well, last Friday’s movie night was a real test of friendship.

When Arthur J. reached into his pocket for his movie money, it was gone. His mom had given him four quarters, since she didn’t have a dollar bill. Arthur J. didn’t know it, but he had a hole in his pocket and the quarters fell out somewhere along the way.

He didn’t know what to do. He walked over to where his friends were standing and told them what happened. He was really upset. He didn’t want to miss the movie. Most of all he didn’t want to miss the fun of sitting with his friends and trading snacks.

“Can anyone lend me the money for the movie,” asked Arthur J. “I’ll pay you back tomorrow, I promise.”

His friends were quiet for a few seconds, then Hector said, “If I give you my snack money, what will I eat”? Everyone giggled. They all know how important food is to Hector.

Then Willie said, “There are eight of us who always sit with Arthur J. Why don’t we put our snack money together? We will have 8 quarters. We can give 3 quarters to Arthur J for admission to the movie and still have 5 quarters to buy snacks that we can share.”

All the “Can Dos” thought Willie had a great idea, except Hector who said,”I like to eat all my snack myself. I get hungry watching a movie.” Nellie put her hands on her hips, stared at Hector and said, “Hector, you don’t need a whole snack. Besides, Arthur J is our friend. If you lost your money, he’d help you.”

Hector looked at Arthur J, who was nodding his head, agreeing with what Nellie was saying about how he would share if Hector didn’t have money to get into the movie.

Hector thought for a moment as the others stared at him. “Okay, you’re right. Her’s my quarter. I don’t want Arthur J to miss the movie.”

With that, all of the “Can Dos” each put their snack money together. Willie held the money, since it was his idea in the first place. Willie handed Arthur J. three quarters for the movie admission. Then they all went over to the snack table to decide what they could buy with the remaining five quarters.