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Blue, Gold and 6 Year Olds
Blue, Gold and 6 Year Olds
Brealyn LaRue
Thursday, January 09, 2020

     Over Christmas break, the Big Timber FFA Chapter put on their 11th annual Christmas Camp. On December 30th at 8:00 AM, children grades K-4 began arriving with their parents and guardians at the Big Timber Grade School gym. After emergency contact information and allergies were recorded, the attendees began their day of fun and games. The event created in 2009 was an idea from the chapter’s former president Bailey Engle. It originally took place over the span of three days, but was later condensed into a one day experience. 
      During this six hour day of service, chapter members played a variety of games with the grade school students including tail tag, blob tag, dodge ball, and many more. For those who were not interested in participating in the games, there were holiday themed coloring pages and crayons of every color. Throughout the morning, there were extra oranges and apples from the FFA chapter’s fruit sales fundraiser available as  snacks for the students. All who attended the Christmas Camp were also provided with bottled water and pizza for lunch. After all of the children had full stomachs and were worn out from their morning of endless play, chapter members set up a movie in the grade school band and choir room. Everyone watched the Polar Express until their parents and guardians arrived to pick them up around 2:00 PM.
    Austin Standley, Big Timber FFA Adviser,  when asked about the event replied “I think it went well. To me, there’s a huge value in both the high school perspective from our students thinking beyond themselves in more of a community mindset and hanging out with those young kids… I see a similar value for the young kids in that they now have somebody to look up to, somebody to play with, they get to see their friends again...”. He went on to explain that he views Christmas Camp as an opportunity for children of any background to play with friends and have an enjoyable time. 
    There was a total of twenty students in attendance, and the positive environment was evident in the interaction between the children and the high school students. Standley says, “When you see a little six year old riding on some high school kid’s shoulders and they're grinning ear to ear like it’s the most fun they’ve had all break, I think that it is the whole reason we do it."
     Although the event was successful, the Big Timber FFA Chapter has ideas for improvement. Next year they plan to decide on a list of games to play with the students prior to the event as well as determine what supplies they will need. The FFA members who attend will also have designated roles to allow for a more successful camp. The Big Timber FFA Chapter is looking forward to continuing their Christmas Camp tradition in the upcoming year.