Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Plans for the coming year!

Brace yourselves, Hippogriffs.. I've been brainstorming ideas for the coming year. 

And I thought I'd propose a plan now with all of you so you can give your input, so please share your ideas - all are welcome! This group is all about YOU so please speak up! The more thoughts we have on all this, the better we'll be able to plan some awesome ways to make the world a more magical place in 2012-2013.

Two things to keep in mind first:
  1. Our original plan for the rest of 2012 was to celebrate Harry and JK Rowling's birthdays in July with a possible movie marathon, then focus on the environment ("Haunted Earth House") for August-October with a possible actual haunted house event at church. Then back to Fair Trade Chocolate in November and another Yule Ball in December. We could certainly stick to that plan, but it's not at all written in stone, so we can also change it or tweak as we see fit. (I do think at the very least we should make the Yule Ball an annual thing though, because it was so much fun!)
  2. We've been invited to once again help with a Harry Potter theme for First UU's Justice Sundays for the coming church year. As a reminder, this is usually the sunday school during the services (both 9:15 and 11) on the last sunday of each month during the school year, for all the elementary aged kids. It would be great if you older kids could join us for these, so maybe we need to plan this ahead of time with the teachers of your classes?

So here's what I'm thinking....

While I feel like we really accomplished a lot this past year, I'm not so sure that we covered important topics like bullying and racism enough because we only devoted a month or so to each topic. It sort of felt for me like we were just getting started and then we switched gears again - which of course we knew would happen going into it, and hopefully we'll come back around to those topics eventually. But meanwhile, it also seems like the environment/earth/animals as a broad topic is something that has come up a lot in some of our meetings that the kids are especially interested in, and we haven't really touched on it yet because we had it as our plan for this fall. But maybe it deserves more than a 3 month timeframe? Maybe we could focus on the earth all year as a long-term project to explore it more in depth?

If we like this idea, I thought we could tackle it by breaking it down into four general aspects of this topic, corresponding with the four quarters of the year (Jan-March, April-June, July-Sept, Oct-Dec).. and because you know I love a Hogwarts theme, naturally this made me think about the four Hogwarts houses, which already correspond with the four elements (see Also each House tends to excel at certain Hogwarts classes that could relate to real-life environmental themes. And guess what, each house is represented by an animal as well! All of which have real-life endangered species in their families, listed here: Such is the genius of JK Rowling, which never ceases to amaze me! 

So, thinking of all of this as a framework, how about we focus our work like this:
  • July-Sept: Ravenclaw - Air/Bird/Transfiguration
    • air pollution, climate change, global warming
    • endangered birds and invertebrates/flying critters
    • maybe we have our Haunted Earth House (or Death Day party- after all, ghosts are air creatures of a sort) at the end of September? including something about bird-friendly balloons or other flying somethings? pinwheels?
    • something about butterflies transfiguring.... spiders, bees (honey.. Honeydukes)
  • Oct-Dec: Hufflepuff - Earth/Badger/Herbology
    • plants, deforestation, biodiversity
    • food - vegetarianism, hunger, fair trade, organic farming
    • since there are so many endangered mammals, maybe we combine this with Gryffindor for a 6-month mammal project, or should we focus on plants and food exclusively here?
    • Maybe we have a vegetarian feast as part of our Yule Ball, or for Thanksgiving
  • Jan-March: Gryffindor - Fire/Lion/Defense Against the Dark Arts or Care of Magical Creatures
    • wildfires, natural disasters like earthquakes, etc
    • environmental effects of war maybe?
    • endangered mammals (there are a LOT of them)
    • local animals and pets - perhaps a visit to an animal shelter? (could be fun for Justice Sunday especially)
  • April-June: Slytherin - Water/Snake/Potions
    • water pollution, rain forests, water scarcity
    • endangered reptiles, amphibians and fish
    • water-related activities along our local rivers/Lake Erie
    • certainly our favorite potion making! maybe the Harry Potter First Friday is focused on this especially and we do it in April instead of March
    • still do Pride but maybe also something water related at Pride... squirt-guns (wands?) perhaps to cool us off from the heat, or pass out drinking water (maybe with food coloring or kool-aid to be "potions") along with a message about water scarcity... or something about rainbow fish, dragons?
What do you think everyone? Do you like the idea of focusing on the earth for a full year? Do you have ideas about things we can do related to this theme, especially activist work we could do?

Jolinda and Deb, are there ways we can tie these ideas to the church calendar and some of the Sunday school themes?

And if we're into all this, let's get started with Ravenclaw and air and flying creatures in July!

Last but not least... I'm not saying that we shouldn't still do a movie marathon in July! How can we make this happen????


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