Did you find the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas a bit stressful at times? For many children, this a period that accentuates their feelings of being out of place. Some look back and remember traumatic events that took place during this season. Many children feel holiday stress acutely. Some even come to dread the holiday season.
This year, we wanted to make sure each child had an opportunity to create positive Christmas memories. We especially wanted this for our LITs (Leaders in Training). These are our oldest mentees in the RFK Mentoring Club. So, we set up two sessions for the LITs to have a Christmas cookie baking party at an RFK leader’s home and a Christmas cookie decorating party at a local assisted living facility.
The LITs surrounded the big island ready to decorate. Large glass doors on the other side of the kitchen let us look out and see the snow on the ground. Christmas carols played softly in the background. RFK is the primary thing these kids have in common. They attend different schools in different communities. But here they are friends. There was lots of laughter. Stories were told, often starting with “I remember at Camp when…”. That afternoon twelve dozen cookies were made. One by one, the mentor-mentee pairs left the house – often lingering for a while, not wanting the time to end.
The next week a slightly different group of LITs met residents of a local care facility. Showing kids the value of service is risky business. This seemed especially so as Christmas approached, and American culture focused on what presents we will be given. We were a bit apprehensive as we showed up with cookies and LITs with their mentors. But our LITs did not disappoint. They decorated for hours with the residents. Smiling and laughing. In the end, every cookie was decorated and over half the residents in the entire facility participated.
Fun. Service. New things, old things. Christmas memories for a lifetime.