August 25, 2015

Watch your Son Grow Through Participation in Scouting!

"Why is scouting important to me? As a Scouter mom I get to watch him grow into a wonderful, considerate young man... Why wouldn't anyone want this for their son?"

My son with his Papa at the
100th Year Anniversary Camporee.
Yes, that statement was posted as part of a Mom 2 Mom contest our local Boy Scout council promoted a few years ago. Guess what? It is still incredibly accurate several years later. My son went through the entire Cub Scout program and is now a Boy Scout. He is an amazingly involved and motivated young man who I admire greatly.

What Scouting Has Done for My Son

My son has always been a giver. Not necessarily in the monetary sense, but through participation in scouting he has learned to be an active part of the community. I often hear that he is the first to raise his hand to volunteer to help in some way, and I love that he is learning that giving does not always have to mean money, and that one person CAN make a difference. These are valuable life lessons.

Giving of ones self means that he will be able to relate to his greater community. Right now that is his class and school, but scouting has opened his eyes so that he can see the value of helping in the neighborhood, township and beyond. He has worked on conservation projects for the local watershed, and for the county, he has participated in food drives, at the animal shelter, and through soliciting funds for those in need. He has also volunteered at senior centers and food banks. These experiences have opened him up to people he may have never have met, and it has helped him understand that one person can make a difference.

This summer he went away to three camps. Since I ask my children to help pay for their fun expenses, like the canteen at camp, much of his summer slush fund was depleted. Regardless of that, when he heard that the local Humane Society was low on toys for cats, he and his sister counted coins to purchase $30 some to donate. They hunted down the best deals too, knowing fully well that more cats could have the toys if they could make their money go further.

My son helping serve at a
pancake breakfast.
One of the stories I like to share when doing Friends of Scouting presentations, is from the first year he sold Boy Scout popcorn. He was given a $20 to spend, but instead of using the money on himself, he asked me to put it in his popcorn money so that he could give it to the soldiers. Here he was, at just 7-years old, taking his money and giving it to others!

There are many other great stories of course but the point is that though scouting, my son has learned the value of hard work, teamwork and friendship. He has built up his self esteem and learned new skills.

Now that he has moved onto Boy Scouts he knows that hard work and perseverance can move mountains. Just this past year, while doing several class projects and the science fair, I have heard him say countless times, "Mom I don't want to be that kid who does the minimum." His hard work has paid off in many ways that makes a mom proud.

Could he have gained this without scouting? I'm pretty sure that he could have, but the experiences he has had, and what he is learning through participation in Cub Scouts and now Boy Scouts, is shaping him into a young man that I admire greatly. These experiences and skills are helping to shape him in amazing ways, ways that would make any parent proud.

September is a great time to look at scouting, as there are many open houses, scout nights and round-ups. Want to find a local Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop or Venturing Crew for your son to join?  Check out the Be A Scout website for more information on what is available to your child.

August 24, 2015

Free Admission to the Henry Ford

Get free admission to the Henry Ford during Target Family Days!

On Monday, September 7 (9:30a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) families can receive free admission to the Henry Ford Museum courtesy of Target. The Target Family Days, are scheduled throughout the year and include free activities, admission and parking. Find live music, hands-on demonstrations, make-and-take activities and more season-specific programming. Target Family Days at the Henry Ford are for families, so be sure to head over to check it out!

August 18, 2015

Saline Community Fair: Rides, Agriculture, Animals & Fun

Check out the Saline Community Fair this week Sept 2-6, 2015
This week's fair of choice is the Saline Community Fair. Beginning September 2 and running through labor Day families can check out the rides, eats and exhibits as well as many great special attractions at the Saline Community Fair.

Special attractions that families might enjoy are events happening throughout Thursday's"Pre-school  Day" 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and Saturday's "Kid's Day". Families will especially enjoy the annual talent show, Saline's Got Talent and Saturday's parade in downtown Saline, as well as animal shows, tractor pulls, plenty of entertainment! For a full listing of Saline Community Fair daily events though, be sure to visit the fair website.

Saline Community Fair
September 2-6, 2015
Daily Admission: for those 11+ is $7.00 (kids 10 and under FREE Admission)
Special season passes are available!

Ride Armbands:
Ride armbands will be available for purcase.  Special pricing for rides is also available during Preschool Day where fair admission is $5.00 (ages 2 and up) 9:00 - 2:00 p.m. The pricing includes kiddie rides only from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. No big kids rides will be open until 2:00 p.m. Also in years past, there is special pricing on Labor Day beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Saline Community Fair Highlights:

To highlight the special events on Thursday's Preschool Day, families in the past have found plenty of great activities and events for the everyone. Past performances by Cirque Amongus, Nick's Kid Show, and Gemini, with special activities provided by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, a fun display of fire trucks from the Saline Area Fire Department, and the New Beginnings baby animal exhibit. My family especially enjoyed viewing all of the great displays put together by the kids - and of course my award winning pepper jelly being displayed! (I'm not going to say I should have won, but that was the very last jar since my family all but sucked down 8 jars in a matter or 2 weeks.).

Continue to watch the Ann Arbor Mom blog for fair updates or check out the full Saline Community Fair calendar of events on their website. Below are a few select highlights that may be especially helpful to families.

September 1:
Parade (Bennett Street, Saline) - 6:30 p.m.
Followed by Old Fashioned Games in Mill Pond Park

September 2:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Rides Open - 3:00 p.m.
Miss Saline Pageant - 8:00 p.m.

September 3 - Preschool Day:
Note: While the Fair Website indicates that this morning is for "Pre-School aged children and Toddlers" know that my experience has been that there are often older children in attendance and in line for the rides!

Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Preschool/Toddler Program - 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
A2SO Pet Instruments - 9:00 a.m. - noon
Ann Arbor Hands on Museum - 9:00 a.m.
Junior Livestock Auction - 7:00 p.m.

September 5 - Ladies Day:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Ladies' Day Program - 1:00 p.m.
*Regular Admission Begins 1:00 p.m.
Rides Open - 2:00 p.m.
Saline's Got Talent - 6:00

September 6 - Kid's Day:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Kid's Activities - 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Lookin’ Back (Bob Seger Tribute Band) - 7:30 p.m.

September 7 -  Free Admission:
Rides Open (armbands $10) - 1:00 p.m.

August 14, 2015

Movies-in-the-Park: "Home"

See the movie "Home" under the stars on August 21!

We really enjoy spending time outdoors as much as possible, and movies in the park are some of the best ways during the summer months to do that! On Friday, August 21 at Mill Pond Park (Saline) families can enjoy seeing the movie Home.

Bring your blankets, family and friends and enjoy a great evening under the stars. From 6:30 pm to dusk there will be free family fun including inflatable obstacle course, inflatable bouncer, music, picnicking, sponsor activity area, games and more. Concessions are available for purchase. The movie "Home" will begin at sundown.

August 13, 2015

August Hikes for the Family

There are two hiking programs happening later this month through Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation. They are both appropriate for the whole family. What's really nice is that the timing of each event means you get to explore nature in several ways!

On Thursday, August 20 take a sunset hike at Rolling Hills at 6:30 p.m. A Field Guide to Fields will take you through Rolling Hills to see the botany, wildlife, and history. Explore the botany, wildlife, and history of the North American temperate grassland. Meet in the Prairie Pavilion lot.

Later in the week, on Sunday, August 23 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Explore the northern wetland habitats of  Trinkle Marsh. While on the naturalist led program there will be wet conditions so be sure to dress for the weather.

August 9, 2015

Chelsea Community Fair

I still feel the loss of the Michigan State Fair, I miss the barns upon barns of animals and agricultural displays. Not to mention the fun fair food, games, music and family-friendly atmosphere. Next week though we can take in the Chelsea Community Fair (20501 W Old US Highway 12, Chelsea) August 25-29, 2015!

Expect traditional displays such as the Nature's Creation of Life display, the many animals, as well contests, the demolition derby, tractor pulling and many horse shows! After my foray into home wine brewing, I'm looking forward to checking out the homemade wine contest as well as the tables upon tables of home canned and baked goods on display. New this year is a cool ice cream truck, a lumberjack show, draft horse pull and square dancing. Be sure to check out the full schedule of events at the Chelsea Fair before heading out though!

Admission prices for the event are $7.00 with free admission for kids under age 10. In addition to the daily admission fee, your family might opt to enjoy the midway and rides for $20.00.

Here is a brief list of highlighted events that might be of interest to local Ann Arbor families:

August 23:
Free Admission to Tractor Pull

August 24:
Free Admission to Tractor Pull
Gates Open at 9:00 a.m.

August 25:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 5:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Colors the Clown performs 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Children’s Parade; Tricycle Pull & Kid’s Day Events in Main Arena 5:30 p.m.
Demolition Derby starts at 7:30 p.m.

August 26:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Demolition Derby starts at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 27 - Senior Day:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Kiddies Peddle-Power Tractor Pull at 1:00 p.m.
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Chelsea Community Fair Diesel Shootout Truck Pull starts at 7:30 p.m.

August 28 - Ladies Day:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Tractor Pulling Contest, Farm Stock, Speed-Pull Weight Transfer Sled Classes starts at 7:00 p.m.

August 29:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Youth Horse Show (Fun Day) 9:00 a.m.
Parade 1:00 p.m.
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
4-Wheel and 2-Wheel Drive Pulling/Diesel Truck Pull Contests start at 7:30 p.m.

August 7, 2015

See the Perseid Meteor Shower at Independence Lake

See the Perseid Meteor Shower  next Tuesday at
Independence Lake! 
On Tuesday, August 11 from 9:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. see the Perseid Meteor Shower in the peaceful setting at Independence Lake. Naturalist Ron Gamble will start the evening with a brief talk on
meteor shower viewing starting at 9:00 p.m. Pre-registration for this free program is required, call Faye at (734) 971-6337 x 334.

Meet at the Independence Lake Park, Beach Center lot.