By Amy Pancake
Hardy County Community Foundation
The Wardensville Lions Club Story Time program has fostered a love of reading in young children and delighting their families since 2013. Despite the challenges of a pandemic, they did not waver in this mission.
Each week, Story Time’s activities revolve around a book. The children are the inspiration; the books are the key! Story Time offers a guest speaker reading a featured book to the children, followed by a craft and snacks related to the story’s theme. Craft time nurtures creativity and art skills while teaching how to follow instructions. Songs, games, and other books included in the week, coordinate with the theme of the main book.
When the children go home, they each take a copy of the featured book, thanks to a Community Foundation grant. Owning the “books of the week” enables the children to read the books for years to come and to share this pleasure with siblings, parents, and grandparents. These are treasured times for families, helping the children to grow and mature, knowing the value of books, family, and friends.
The pandemic presented many challenges to this program, preventing in-person Story Time gatherings for two years, but the Lions Club volunteers adapted. Families and volunteers gathered virtually. Children still experienced the joy of being read to and followed along with their parents while they were shown how to create a craft. Tom and Patty Austin put together goody bags of books, craft supplies, and treats and delivered them to the children’s homes.
This past summer, the Lions Club returned to in-person Story Time and met at the town park, when the weather permitted, to enjoy a book, crafts, and snacks. In July, they celebrated the 51st anniversary of the Moon Landing in a big way. Several Lions members hosted stations around the big field, including Michael Funkhouser in his space camp suit. Sharing the book Take a Giant Leap, Mr. Armstrong, each Lion told a bit about Neil Armstrong’s life and first steps on the moon. They crafted a rocket out of a paper towel cardboard tube. The activities culminated with building and flying styrofoam glider planes, stomping rockets and eating red, white, and blue popsicles. It was a fine day!
The joy and laughter of the Story Time children are plentiful as they flex their imaginations and immerse themselves in quality children’s books. It is wonderful to hear the laughter, listen to the visiting, and enjoy these dear children as they grow in goodness and love. They inspire each other and brighten all of our lives.