June 4, 2012

Let the Writing Begin

The Pen Pal Project has officially started! I was up until 1am last night sending out all the emails and FB messages so that everyone got their pen pals. And in true Slacker Mom fashion, I was 2 days late with everything. But I have to say, it was for a good reason. The deadline was May 26th, but I kept getting emails and messages asking if it was too late to sign up. How could I turn someone away? And then I had a little problem with being overloaded with WA kids. Everyone wants to write to someone from a different state (sort of the whole point) but literally half the kids were from WA. I had to do some cold calling and cashing in of favors (and possibly a little blackmailing) to get a few more kids from other states involved but it finally worked out. After 2 days of shuffling names around (and around, and around), I finally got everyone paired up.

Can I just tell you now how excited I am about this? When I was growing up I always thought it would be fun to have a pen pal but I never knew how to go about getting one. I mean, it's not like today where I can just hop on the computer and Google "pen pals". My kids are even getting excited about it despite the fact that it started out as (and continues to be) a way for them to practice their penmanship.

On a side note, did you know that a lot of schools aren't even teaching cursive anymore? How are our kids going to learn to do something as basic and fundamental as signing their names? I had to sit down with Howdy and show him how to write his name in cursive so he could actually have a signature. He's 13! But don't get me started on this soap box.

Moving on...I had fun pulling this all together even if I turned to the Dark Side for the last 2 days. The kids would approach me while I was drafting emails and I would throw my hands up to cover my ears and shout, "I cannot deal with whatever TV, clothing, or food crisis you have! Take it to Daddy!" I put every kid's name on a piece of paper and then I spent hours shuffling them around until I had them all paired up so that no one was writing to a relative or someone in the same state. And then I would get an email with another name and I would have to do it again. At one point, my cat decided those perfectly lined up paper names looked cozy and she plopped herself down on top of all of it to nap. That turned out to be a bad decision as it got her launched across the room. But I'm sure she'll recover eventually.

I'm really hoping this goes well because MC and I are already making improvements for next year. Things like making announcements at our church, creating printable fliers for you to download and print out, setting up a Facebook page (done) so that those who don't know me personally can find out more about me and the project and (hopefully) read testimonials from others and see that I'm not some weird stalker lady who is going to hunt down their children once I get their names and addresses. You know, things like that.

It's already bigger than I ever thought it would be. Here are some fun facts about the project:

70 kids are signed up--34 boys and 36 girls 
How cool is that? This started out with just my 3 minions! And obviously it's not just a girl thing as it's split pretty evenly.

Ages range from 5-17 with the average age being 10 
All ages are involved, from the littlest writers on up through high school.

8 states are represented
Even with half the kids coming from WA, we have a good sampling of different states, and with NY included I can say that we stretch from coast to coast!

I am looking forward to hearing from the kids throughout the summer to see how this all goes over. Maybe we can bring letter writing back from the brink of extinction!

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