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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at www.susanwanderer.com 

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My Stomping Grounds

Last weekend my son was in a musical at school. 

High school musicals are just the most fun! The teenagers, the songs, the costumes, the microphone issues, the energy, the camaraderie, the after-school practices, the costume fixes with hot glue guns, the frantic parents, the giving out of roses… the excitement alone is why three entire movies are named after this phenomenon.

High school theater reminds me why I like college basketball more than the pros. The NBA Playoffs are fun, but the passion of March Madness and Cinderella stories are where-its-at.

A real Broadway experience is amazing, but there is nothing like the scrappiness of a high school play.

These kids and their parents are all-in and dedicated.

Our family is no exception. Team Wanderer has heard the songs of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for three straight months all throughout the rooms of our home. We have sung them down the corridors of 95 and danced to them in the kitchen while preparing lunches.

High school theater is a family project.  By the time the curtain was called on Friday night, all five Wanderers knew every line and every note.  The success of this play felt like a team effort. Even though four of us were snug in our chairs during the performance.

When my son’s toe stepped on stage and the first note come from his lungs my eyes burst forth with tears, his sisters found new amazement in their brother and my hubs kept saying “Wow, look at him!” When the show came to a close and the final actors were bowing, Team Wanderer was wooo-hoooing like little maniacs.

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If there is ever a wonder why a child should participate in an extra-curricular activity, here is my personal-opinion-list:

  1. EXCITEMENT! Kids occasionally need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. An experience that requires a stretch beyond their comfort zone.
  2. TOGETHER! Kids need to experience that life is lived better together with other people and not solo.
  3. COMMITMENT! The importance of seeing something through to completion is lived out.
  4. BE BRAVE! New found courage and bravery are discovered in the hearts of our kids.
  5. FUN! Having fun while participating in something great allows the commitment to be exciting, new-found relationships to be built, and confidence to be birthed.
  6. PROBLEM-SOLVER! Sometimes things don’t go our way during an event or experience.  We receive the gift of guiding our kids to learn how to critically think and be problem solvers to aid in a solution.
  7. CHEER SECTION! Siblings learn to cheer each other on. (even while possibly watching on through potential green lenses)

I’m not saying go overboard and over-schedule our kids every night of the week. Yet, one night to build friendships, have fun and flex some courage-muscles is great!

Summer is coming up… lots of opportunities to try some short term excitement.

Extra-curricular doesn’t always have to be mean: semester long. That’s the fun of summer!

Here are a few exciting one-week-choices Team Wanderer has signed up for in the past few summers to help discover some new found talents and birth some new dreams in the hearts of my Wanderer-Women:

  • CYT (Christian Youth Theater in Fredericksburg and Stafford) –one week Summer Camps throughout the Summer and my girls JUMP at the chance to participate! One summer we had the Wanderer-Women giggling and learning lines for Aladdin and 101 Dalmatians during their week of camp. And on Friday, the Wanderer-Men arrived to cheer them on!
  • Dr. Yum’s Cooking Camp (Fredericksburg) – who knew my girls had such talent in the kitchen for healthy cooking and eating? Dr. Yum birthed a new passion in them!
  • WinShape Summer Camp (Stafford) – Chick-Fil-A brings to life an INCREDIBLE camp with 21 track time options (sports, science, dancing, cooking, archery). My girls try new adventures! I get to come watch and cheer them on during Chick-Fil-A-Friday-Family-Fun-Day!

While I ADORE pool time, beach time and non-scheduled time during the lazy days of summer, I also discovered my children can experience new adventures, build new friendships and discover great new talents they didn’t know they had.

Summer is coming, parents! Let’s use just a couple of those weeks to help bring a new experience to life!

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

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