Holiday Tree for school Life Skills program
What is the specific activity or project?
One of the really fun activities our club has done the past several years is work with our Life Skills/Special Needs program to deliver a Holiday Tree decorated with hand-made ornaments and small gifts.
Why was it particularly meaningful and/or fun for your club to do?
In this instance, although making the ornaments is a really fun club activity, this event is all about connection and about showing these students that you care about them and you want them to feel joy and happiness.
How easy or difficult was it to plan and implement? scale of 1-5 with 1=easy, 5=difficult
This is a 2. There are essentially three tasks (1) get and setup the Holiday Tree, 2) make the ornaments, 3) get and wrap gifts and cards) that are straightforward and easy to do.
How many active and engaged people does it take to be successful?
4-6 people to make the ornaments, 1-2 people to buy gifts and cards, as many as you want to help set up the tree and spend time with the Life Skills students.
Does it require funding or additional resources to launch? to continue?
Since the club is responsible for getting a tree, we bought a simple artificial one ($50-$90) so it can be reused each year. Making the ornaments is a fun group activity ($35-$50 for supplies) usually held at a club member’s house and we get several small “gifts” for the students after having talked to the teacher beforehand to see what they may like (this expense completely depends on # of students and size of the gifts). It’s usually things like gloves or a hat or drawing pens, but other times it’s just candy and food!
Tips and lessons learned?
We always work with the teacher beforehand to see if it is appropriate to decorate the tree together with the Life Skills students helping to put up the ornaments. Some years it is a resounding yes! Other years, the students are too shy and this can be disruptive to their schedule. Club members are encouraged to reach out and talk with the students, being sensitive of course to the fact that they may feel scared and not want to engage. Smiling is always a good thing!
Are you willing to provide any resources (templates, timelines, samples, etc.) to help other clubs?
Yes. We are happy to share how we approach the teacher, what types of ornaments we typically make, and provide examples of types of gifts we buy.