Sack races, tag and jump rope were the staple of my childhood summers. Sunscreen wasn’t a thing yet, so we smelled of fresh grass or sweat and sported pink cheeks as we panted through the heat. My mom made Kool-Aid which we’d gulp greedily on the back porch finding a sliver of shade to hide in. We’d capture tad poles and observed as they transformed into frogs while the fields nearby grew long stalks of corn. The days were long and nightfall brought pesky mosquitos as twilight gently emerged. Our bodies grew, our minds were busy and the memories are mostly fond.
There was that baseball game when my brother hit me on my forehead, full back swing with a bat, while I was the catcher. My parents were going out to a much-deserved-time-alone-dinner, away from their five children, until they heard everyone screaming. My mom in her dress and heels and my dad in his sports jacket came running out to find me knocked out with a giant goose egg on my forehead. I don’t believe they went to dinner that night.
A family cabin in Coeur d’ Alene is where we learned to work hard as my parents enlisted us children and built a cabin on the lake. Mosquito bites, rusty nails through our feet, too many hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire were common. We were occupied by swimming, fishing and skiing behind a wooden boat. We were enchanted with the freedom and promise that summer brings, where everyone, children and parents, are relaxed and softened by the sun and warmth it brings to our lives. We were occupied by the immense amount of time we had to explore and find our happy.
As summer heat soars and days begin shortening, it gives way to fall and school bells. Tanned, tired bodies, head off with pencils and lunchboxes to learn how much they’ve forgotten since early June, unless of course they’ve participated in a summer program in between. Only about 30% of Idaho children have access to programs during the summer months and we at Giraffe Laugh are proud to provide a quality, enriching summer program to children who might otherwise not have access.
Sending children into the world with the skills they need to be successful academically, socially and emotionally is our primary purpose. Doing this while holding onto the promise of a brighter future is our privilege to provide. 29 children graduated last spring ready and eager to head off to kindergarten thanks to the many teachers from infant to preschool teacher who made that possible. We also thank the teachers at our summer program that enriched the lives of so many and made it possible for 35 children to enter school ready, confident and with a bag full of memories to sustain them until next year. It will be here before we know it and we thank you for being a part of it.
To learn more about what we do, please join us at the Moonlight Movie event coming up on Friday, September 23rd at the Terrace Drive-In in Caldwell. To sign up today please visit to this link. It will be the final celebration of summer and what better way than attending an old fashioned drive-in movie while supporting our cause?
To learn more about Giraffe Laugh, visit https://www.giraffelaugh.org/about/.