Sunday, October 07, 2012

2012-2013 Schedule of Classes, Groups, and Activities

This information is from an email about our annual planning. The online calendar is always the most updated source of information. Thanks!

Welcome to the 7th year of INCH! Yes, seventh. Wow. I remember when this group started years ago with 4 families. And here we are today with dozens of families on the mail list. So exciting, but even more exciting than the number of people in INCH is the kind of people that come regularly -- it is such a great, supportive, eclectic, cohesive group of kind, open, amazing families. 

Keep reading to find out what's in store and how you can be involved - much of what is already on the calendar so far is the result of feedback from the families who have been attending regularly for the past year, particularly kid feedback, and volunteer contributions. Again, there is room for much more (on purpose), so that ALL can be involved. Please read the entire email to see what's up this year and to find out how you can plan whatever you'd like to contribute!

Okay, here we go. There are 3 main aspects to this information:

1. INCH structure - set times and extra outings
2. Clubs 
3. 4-day, 3-night INCH trip

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1. INCH structure 

We are doing away with regular Friday morning INCH times. We are no longer meeting weekly on Friday mornings from 10-12. This gives everyone more morning time for their own schooling at home, makes it easier for those traveling from a distance, and frees us up as a group to do even more (and, at times, lengthier) activities at different times and in different places. It also helps us have more flexibility so that we can take advantage of things happening in our communities as they come up. 

What's abundantly clear is that these INCH kids (and adults!) want to get together socially on a regular basis. Everything else is gravy. That being said, INCH families continue to meet weekly on Friday afternoons from about 1-5 year round (at Park Days from May - September and at the YMCA from October - April) for purely fun/active/social reasons. 

As for activities and field trips . . . rather than meeting weekly for Friday morning classes and activities, we are switching to one main monthly activity from October through April and adding a 4-day, 3-night trip in the spring. We will try to have as many of these monthly activities scheduled on weekends or evenings as possible, so that all family members can attend, except in cases where we can avoid crowds and save money by going during various weekdays (ah, the joys of homeschooling!). 

That means we have 7 official INCH "school year" activities. They are a mix of outings, field trips, projects, celebrations, and fun. Here they are for 2012-2013 (these are already planned because they are repeat activities by popular request as well as field trips we didn't get to this past year):

October 5 - Lake Tobias (Kristie W.)
November 27 - Roller Skating at Mt. Grenta (Stacy F.)
December TBA - Holiday Party (Kristie W.)
January 18 - Cultural Studies Fair (Jessica H.)
February TBA - Family Valentine's Dance (Amy M.)
March 29 - Bowling (Desiree H.)
April TBA - Indian Echo Caverns (Jenn M.)
May 2-5 - INCH 4-day, 3-night trip to Williamsburg, VA (More info to follow in another email)

Specific dates and times for these 7 activities will be on the calendar as they are scheduled and detailed emails will go out for all activities and clubs. The emails will be sent by whomever is in charge of each activity/club. This applies to anyone planning anything all year long. If you have questions about any activities, please contact the person in charge.

In addition to these set monthly activities, anyone is welcome to plan anything at any time (other than at the same time as an already-planned INCH activity or club). Again, the calendar is updated and will continue to be updated. For example, there are already two more October activities in the works -- a mini golf outing (already on the calendar) and a corn maze/pumpkin patch outing. They are in the works simply because people in the group wanted to have the activities and volunteered to head them up. That opportunity is available to everyone in INCH

If you would like to plan ANYTHING at all (activity, field trip, club, etc.), go for it. Please check the calendar to make sure the day/time is available and that there is not already an INCH activity or club scheduled. Then, simply go for it. Plan it, send out the info to the entire group, and do it. When we see the email, we'll add it to the INCH calendar. It's that simple. You don't need to run it past anyone; you can just do it. You can hold the activity wherever you want (people in neighboring counties, feel free to plan things in your area if you'd like). It's like the Field of Dreams - "if you build it, they will come." Your activity, your ideas, your responsibility to send out email information and reminders and make it happen. 

Here are some possible additional activity ideas you are welcome to plan (or plan any other idea that suits your fancy):

Seasonal outings (apple picking, berry picking, ice skating, etc.)
Etiquette Dinner for teens
Yearbook activity/club
Biking/Hiking activity
Fossil Dig
Group Video Game Activity
Cooking
Tennis
Pottery
Hawk Mountain Trip
Internet Safety Class
RAD Classes (in Cornwall)
DaVinci Science Center Visits
Ice Skating
Water Treatment Plant/Landfill/Recycling Center Trip
Reading Art Museum
Playgroups
Weis Mystery Tours
Chocolate World
Live Action Role Playing (LARP)
Wilbur Chocolate Tour
Middlecreek Classes
Knoebel's Outing
Dr. Seuss Birthday Activity
Philadelphia Museum of Natural Sciences Sleepover
Rails to Trails
Whitaker Center
Civil War Museum
Turkey Hill Experience
Craft Classes (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Lowe's, etc.)

Like an idea? Run with it! Have another one? Go for it! 


2. Clubs

INCH hosts various clubs and classes including, but not limited to, theater clubs, book clubs, research clubs, play groups, art classes, D&D, Parents' Night Out (PNO), etc. Many of them meet regularly. They are for various age groups. These, too, are always being updated on the calendar. You will also see many emails about them with details about how they run and ages and times. This is a busy email time of year. It will slow down again once we get set and going. 

The ones that are for sure happening so far are:

Art Classes for ages 5-18 (twice monthly) - TBA (Desiree H.)

Playgroup for little ones - 3rd Tuesday monthly at 10:30 am, as well as other times (Holly M.)

D&D Club - 3rd Sunday monthly from 2-5 (Mark F./Rusty H./Dave G.) - This group is full; starting waiting list

Book Club for ages 8-10 - meets 2nd Tuesday monthly 7-8:30 (Mark F.)

Theater Club - More info coming out soon (Stacy F./Sarah F.)

20 Things Research Club for ages 10 and up - 2nd Wednesday monthly from 6:30-8:30 (Stacy F.) - This group is almost full; (RSVP ASAP)

Parents Night Out - 2nd Tuesdays monthly from 6:30-9 at MJ's Coffeehouse in Annville
 
Volunteer Day at Library - TBA (Mark F.)

There will be more activities being added to the calendar throughout the year. Keep an eye on your emails! 

INCH has lots of kids of all ages. We especially have a strong group of teens, which is exciting! Please remember that anyone can plan any activity or club anytime so long as it doesn't conflict with an already-scheduled INCH time (always check the calendar). You can schedule them for anywhere! The Lebanon library is always very hospitable to us (they now charge $10/use of the community room). 

If you'd like to add any to the list, be our guest! 

Impromptu play dates, game nights, movie nights, potlucks, park days, and get togethers can be planned by anyone, anytime. If you wake up and it's a beautiful day out and the mood strikes you, send out an email inviting everyone to the park (or to go ice skating or to go fishing or to go to Chocolate World). I can almost guarantee you'll have a group there that day. INCH families are fun and spontaneous that way. :)


3. 4-day, 3-night INCH Trip

This year we are having an extended trip for any INCH families that are interested! We are planning to spend 4 days and 3 nights in the Williamsburg, VA area. The trip will be in May. We are still working on details as far as exactly where we will visit, but our trip will include time at Colonial Williamsburg (additional possibilities include Jamestown Settlement and Busch Gardens). We would like to spend lots of time together as a group (with the fringe benefit that we can take advantage of some group discounts!), and also have time for each family to plan their own activities.

To make things a bit simpler, travel arrangements, including transportation, lodging, and food, are up to each individual family to plan. Not only will this make things less complicated, this will allow everyone to plan a trip that works well for their own travel styles, whether it be a hotel, camping, a vacation home, staying with relatives, or whatever.

Also, we would like to have fundraising opportunities to help make the trip more affordable for as many families as possible. We expect each family that is going on the trip to help plan one fundraiser in which we can all participate. Any family that helps would share in the proceeds. If your family would prefer not to fund-raise and would rather just pay for the trip outright, that is okay. Just be sure to let us know so we can know what to expect. These fundraisers are not only a good way to help defray the costs of the trip but they are also other activities where our children can get together and enjoy a good time. Some ideas so far include a car wash, bake sale, laser tag night, sandwich sales, and restaurant fundraisers.

Any family who plans to go on the trip needs to RSVP by October 31st. Once we have a list of those attending, we will coordinate a planning meeting to hammer out the final details. We're really excited at this chance and it's a real indicator of how much INCH has grown as a group!

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And this part. We say this every year, but frustratingly, it does not always translate into every family volunteering or contributing in some way. Please. If you are going to come to any INCH activities (and we hope that you do!), please find a way to contribute something to the group. That is the expectation. We need help. It is burdensome and unfair for most of the work to be done by a few families when there are so many families who attend even semi-regularly. We have listed where we can use your help. We understand that not everyone is able (whether emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) to contribute the same kind of thing. That's okay. But please find SOME way to help out. If you're not sure what would help, please refer to the list below. Also, kids are very welcome to host/offer activities and classes as well. We welcome and appreciate your help. 

These are activities that we would really like to have happen and areas in which we need volunteers:

Organizing a Service Project--COVERED
Organizing May Day/Music Day (to kick off Park Days next May)
Spring Earth Day/Field Day
Sending out emails about local events
Sending out reminder emails for Parents' Night Out
Sending out reminder emails for Park Days

Thank you, INCHers! We're going to have a great year!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

INCH 2012-2013 Events and Calendar Coming Soon . . .

It's that time of year! Events are being organized, activities are being planned, clubs are being put together. Stay tuned. Information will be posted shortly (hopefully by this weekend).

As we enter our SEVENTH year, we are thrilled to have such a diverse, supportive, eclectic, amazing, friendly group of families. Three cheers for INCH!! :)