Friday, December 18, 2009

Mason County Family Christmas

Each year, Mason County offers the Christmas for Kids afternoon craft event. Each business is represented and provides their own crafts and other supplies for each child to take part in making. With all the crafts to choose from, I started with a group of children at the beaded candy cane table, then moved to the cellophane Christmas tree decorating and from there decorated some Christmas cards for family and friends.

There were close to 150 children in attendance and each went home with at least an average of five crafts/gifts, hot chocolate, and cookies.

This free event is open to the general public and encourages families to participate together during the Holiday Season. Counties like Mason serve as the trailblazer for many others. Their well-known mission and first priority is their children, their safety and well being.

Dale Carnegie Training

In 2002, Dale Carnegie celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2002. With over 7 million graduates, Dale Carnegie Training is dedicated to serving the business and professional community worldwide. Currently there are over 2,700 professional instructors that offer Dale Carnegie Training in more than 75 countries in 25 languages. If those facts do not speak for themselves, I am not sure what does.

The Dale Carnegie Trainging Organization sponsors the Miss America contestants during their year of service. I was able to attend the “High Impact Presentations” course in Atlanta, GA and gained much knowledge about myself and my presentations skills.

During this course you are video taped seven different times, giving seven different presentations. Your first presentation starts out with just introducing yourself, stating what organization or company you represent, how many presentations you do on a yearly average, and why this training program is important to you and your growth as a presenter. The last presentation is on any topic, but is promoting the creation of change, whether that be change within your position and what you cold do to expand that job, or change within your organization.

There were eight people in this particular training course and their background ranged from a Marketing/PR person for a local hospital, to a plant manager/engineer, to a woman who currently worked for the Centers for Disease Control. Myself and the entire class became very close with our trainers – Ercell & April. They were the best in the business and it was no wonder that they loved their job. You could see it all over their face and in their presentation.

This was an invaluable experience for me and I gained much, whether that was more impacting presentations skills or relationship with others that I would have never had the opportunity to meet. I would recommend this course, but Dale Carnegie Training, to anyone hoping to positively advance within their career and life.

Inwood Christmas Banquet & Parade

Inwood, WV – near Martinsburg, WV – always throws the best parties and offers the best parades to watch. This Christmas they were hosting their annual South Berkeley Christmas Banquet and Parade and I was invited to participate.

The banquet was held on Saturday night and honored one particular man and others that have supported and given back to their community in one way or another. Featured was an honorary student, citizen, mayor, sports marshal, invited guests, and also featured were the king and queen who were selected by essay submission. Throughout the banquet the various different honorary attendees spoke for 5-10 minutes.

Throughout each speech I became in awe of how much time and preparation had gone into starting the Christmas parade years ago and how each year they keep getting bigger and bigger. The Rutherfords are to thank for the past few years of organization and promotion of the South Berkeley County Christmas parade.

There were 178 entries in Sunday’s parade, even with the temperature measuring 34 degrees. Hot coco was served during the parade route by a local church and man it was good! I was number 66 and was provided a restored jeep convertible! My driver was such a blast to be around. He was 60+ and owned a Hummer vehicle. He said when they came out, he couldn’t wait to get one, but had to spend two years researching, checking them out, and most importantly – convincing his wife! I hope the next time I am in the South Berkeley both his family and myself and take another ride in that beautiful jeep!

Wellsburg CASA Holiday Open House

On another trip to Wellsburg I visited the CASA Holiday Open House, held in the Wellsburg CASA Offices. This was a nice get-together for the volunteers and CASA staff, as well as the general public. There were 10+ vendors that were showing and selling their inventory for Christmas presents. The items on display ranged from Pampered Chef to fashion jewelry. There was a silent auction as well that featured a children’s basked full of various different items, men’s basked, women’s basket, Pampered Chef baking pan, and an overnight stay at a resort nearby. I ended up winning the children’s basket and plan to auction it off at the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Pageant silent auction in June.

I was able to get to know the volunteers and Executive Director, Michelle Bush, on a more personal level as we shared stories from the past and talked about the need for CASA and how each area in West Virginia was somehow affected by child abuse and neglect. The volunteers, staff members and interns were all so fun to be around. I met a new girl there that was participating in the VISA government program at Bethany College and volunteering with CASA as well. She has such a kind spirit that I would have stayed there all night to visit. The interns were also special ladies. They too attended Bethany College and we majoring in social work. The looked forward to serving as CASA volunteers while finishing college, but longed to serve as Child Protective Service Workers.

The Wellsburg CASA has served 120+ children throughout 10 years of service. Right now they have 40 children that they are advocating for and have 14 on a waiting list. That tells you what kind of epidemic we are in and why CASA volunteers are so appreciated and needed here.