Friday, July 31, 2009

More clues

So far there haven't even been any guesses at to the DinoMights special fundraiser guest!

Give it your best shot. Leave a comment with your best guess. You could be the winner of a brand new, not even off the presses, DinoMights T-Shirt. You may even have the chance to stand in the presence of our guest.

Read through the last few posts to get the first three clues. Here is the next clue:

4) I'm kind of shiny


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't give up

"Have Fun," Jose said to me in his gruff voice smiling ear to ear.
"You had fun this week," I said almost as a question to confirm that I understood.
"You liked Power Camp and going to ValleyFair," I said, again in a question like way to make sure I understood.

We were at the end of a long week, as far as youth work goes. Power Camp is a lot of work. It is a lot of work to coordinate academic lessons for kids ranging all the way from 1st grade to 8th grades, and make it fun. It is a lot of work to manage the transportation logistics of around 60 kids getting to and from camp everyday. Not to mention the actual youth work; when we are actually working with youth. It's about a 60 hour work week for us on staff.

So there we stood at the end of a long week, after a super fun day at Valleyfair (The premier amusement park in the state) ready to board a bus back to DinoMights' Headquarters. I'm not sure "Have fun" were the words rattling in my ears. It was something more like "sleep," or "Don't work tomorrow," or "I wonder if my family will remember me."

Jose is going into 4th grade. He doesn't say much, and when he does it can be tough to understand. He couldn't hear for the first few years of his life. What he did hear was mostly Spanish. He has had several operations since we've known him, and can hear much better now. He's learning a lot of English, and is less afraid of communicating. However, he's still pretty quiet most of the time. His facial expressions usually tell most of the story.

"Have fun," with an ear to ear smile says it all. Jose had it all last week. It didn't matter that he couldn't go in the pool because of his ears, and he had no idea how much work went into providing that fun time. But, in his own way he still said, "Thank you very much. You have no idea, Scott, what this means to me."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Power Camp

Hello DinoMights blog readers. You're probably wondering where the Dino Blog has been over the last week. Well, we've been super busy preparing for Power Camp. Power Camp is our summer academic camp. We always try to pick a fun theme and learn fun stuff based on the theme. This year's theme is conservation. We are learning about how to take care of the environment and to be thankful for God's creation. Stay tuned this week and next to hear more!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lessons in Youth Ministry: KAA You Know!

"The right kids were there."

If you are an aspiring youth worker reading this blog remember that quote. Having the right kids in the right place at the right time is a huge part of doing good youth work. It is also a huge part of enjoying youth work.

Last week two vans full of DinoMights pulled into the parking lot in Minneapolis after a 10 hour  drive all the way from Kids Across America Camp in Southern Missouri. The strange thing about it was that everyone was happy. Ten hours is a long time, and no matter what we do there's always a bit of "hockey smell" embedded in those vans. So why all the smiling faces?

The right kids were there.

There is a temptation to believe that more is better all the time, but it is not. Of course, we see the need. 37,000 people living in the Powderhorn, Phillips, and Central Neighborhoods and almost half are kids. Organized, safe, and constructive activities for those kids are more and more difficult to find. So one would be tempted to say, "Let's bring as many to camp as possible."

Here's the problem, and the important lesson for youthworkers: Each kid is a unique, special person with a complex web of factors influencing her/his life at any particular time. In other words, no program, camp, or activity is going to be right for all kids all the time. What was great for one kid may not be great for another. Those two kids are just too different they are not going to fit in the same box. Also, what was great for one kid last year may not be great this year. What's going on in his/her life right now changes what he/she needs today.

So when you go to KAA, on the border of Arkansas and Missouri, in the middle of the ozarks with kids that shouldn't be there you are not doing anyone any favors.  It's not fun for you and it's not fun for them.  Instead try to find that right mix of kids that is ready for whatever the event happens to be.  It will be the most meaningful for everyone.

That's not to say that it is a failure if someone doesn't have a good time, or you should never bring a kid who is struggling on a trip.  That may be the right thing at that moment.  But, you as the youth worker are responsible for discerning that fact.  If you are considering taking a youth on a trip and your youth worker instincts are telling you not to, or your time in prayer is giving you a bad feeling, then maybe there is something to it.  It won't be the end of the world if someone doesn't go.

At any rate, this year the right kids went to KAA, and they had an excellent time.  It was fun, meaningful, and it drew the group closer together as a community of faith.  I'm especially thankful for the leaders on the trip: Eric, Candace, Lenny and Ellen (a last minute addition to our trip)!  Thanks for the long drive, and for caring about our kids.  They are good youth workers.   I'm also thankful for the Spiritual growth we're seeing in the kids.  Camp has been a huge influence on the lives of DinoMights over the years, and continues to be this year.

A couple of kids who didn't go to camp came to visit my office this week.  Not going to camp has an influence too.  The time I've been able to have with these couple that missed out on camp this year has been beyond valuable.  I guess that's why I've come to this conclusion about having the right kids in the right place at the right time.

By the way the contest is still on.  There have been no correct guesses about our coming guest.  If you guess right you will have first crack at the brand new Dino Gear!  It is going to be cool 15th anniversary DinoMights apparel, so read the clues and make a guess.  Of course, you can also comment about the article as well.

1) I'm an important part of hockey history.  I live in Canada, but travel a lot.

2) On my travels I've spent more time in cooler weather climates.  On occasion, I've spent time in warm weather, but I can't swim.  I have almost drowned a few times.

3) I have spent some time with the DinoMights in the past.  Most recently we were in Detroit together, but I haven't been to a fundraiser for a while.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I want to know who wants to win prizes!

Today's I want to know Wednesday is this:

I want to know who wants to win a prize.

Prizes are up for grabs!!!  The contest involves guessing the correct identity of the special guest for the DinoMights fundraiser on November 16, 2009.  Leave a Comment if you think you know. Here are your clues so far:

1) I'm an important part of hockey history.  I live in Canada, but travel a lot.

2) On my travels I've spent more time in cooler weather climates.  On occasion, I've spent time in warm weather, but I can't swim.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Big Announcement

Danny with inquisitive look, wondering who will be our special guest at the 
2009 DinoMights Annual Fundraiser

If you want to get important and interesting guests to attend your events it is important to book them early.  So, although it is only July 7, we have an important announcement to make about one of our special guests at the 2009 DinoMights Annual Fundraiser.  The event will be held on November 16, 2009 at International Market Square.  Guests will enjoy desserts by D'Amico Catering, a student led program, and a Silent Auction.  They will also have the opportunity to get an up close look at our special guest.

Can you guess who the special guest will be? Leave a comment if you think you know.  (No fair if you are on staff, on the fundraiser committee, or a close friend whom I have already told.  If you know already just play along.)  Here's today's clue:

1) I'm an important part of hockey history.  I live in Canada, but travel a lot.  Who am I?

We will reserve an apparel item from this year's fundraiser for the first person to guess correctly by leaving a comment.  We will add new clues each day until someone guesses.  (The apparel has not been ordered yet.)


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I want to know Wednesdays have often focused on the NHL. Today is the first day of free agency and our Minnesota Wild hero Marian Gaborik is off the market. He became a New York Ranger today. So here's a few questions for Gabby himself (Close caption to Marian Gaborik: If you are actually reading this please leave a comment. It would make this blog super cool.)

1) I want to know do you remember when the Wild went so deep into the playoffs in 2003 and you did so well?

My friend and Co-Squirt coach at the time, Benj Smith, and I watched most of the games together. We were both broken up with our girlfriends, so we spent the spring watching the Wild and healing from our break ups. It was a pretty special time. Thanks Marian.

2) I want to know if you noticed that we flew on the same airplane home from the All-Star Game in Atlanta?

We noticed you. It was quite a thrill to be flying home on the same flight as the person we had been cheering for in the game.

3) I want to know if you felt thanked for hosting us in your suite, Gaborik's Guests?

It turned out to be our Squirt team party. The kids loved it. They asked your agent what you like to do in your spare time, and he said that you like video games. They like you even more now.