Saturday, April 24, 2010

Junior Convention

My friend Rachel and I decided to take our daughters and a little friend and go check out the ACE junior convention to see if we want to do this next year with the younger kids.

You might recall my posts about the regional convention. Well, this was the same thing, on a smaller, younger, more relaxed scale.

This event is open to 8-to-13-year-olds, so there were little kids scurrying in every direction all over that Baptist church in Canby. It was an older building that looked like it was built 50 years ago and then renovated and added on to a dozen times, so the game room looked like an old sanctuary and the current sanctuary seemed cut in half by a new wall. Which had nothing to do with convention.

By the time the day was over, Jenny and her friend Janane were bursting with ideas of what they could do next year. They could sing a duet! And run races! And recite cool poems! And do a skit! And be in the Pace Bowl!!!

"You realize that if we take the initiative in coming up here to check this out, we're going to be stuck with organizing everything next year," said Rachel. I'm sure she's right.

But I think it would be worth it. The best thing, said Quinton Nice, is that kids always say, "I could never do that!" whether it's run the 100-meter or give a speech, and then you work with them and encourage them, and then they discover they can.

The very best part of the day, for me, was the people-watching. At the regional convention the kids are bigger and more starched and polished, but here they were little, with all their personalities showing. Wild little boys hogged the air hockey supplies and plump little girls ran around talking with their friends. One little blond girl had a bad cold and was constantly sniffing, not delicate little feminine whiffs but good lumberjack gusts that should have really cleared out her sinuses, but apparently didn't, because she kept doing it--up front at the Pace Bowl table, singing before the judges, and walking down the hallway within germ-shot of me.

She also burst out with random wrong answers during Pace Bowl and then announced, "Oh well, I tried." And then she tried to sing Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" in front of the judges and forgot whole lines until finally her pianist sang along with her just to get her through it.

But she was sweet and will not be nearly as interesting when she's all grown up and civilized.

Then there was an adorable little girl with an Ethiopian face and name who looked like a happy fairy in her green dress. She smiled constantly, like she was having the time of her life, whether she was singing or playing the ukelele or skipping up front to collect her ribbons. Rachel and I both fell in love with her.

And we mustn't forget the girl with long dark hair, a tail of which kept falling forward over her glasses. She had this reflexive head jerk to get it out of her face, but it kept falling back. It was a terrible distraction while she was singing her solo of Blessed Assurance. I kept track, and she did the spastic little head-jerk 22 times, which is to say I didn't get much out of the music.

Shanea said,

Quote of the Day:
"I kept thinking of a typewriter. Her head would go slooowly one way and then JERK back."

[Really, we did more on the way home than pick people apart. And if we meet you and you have an odd quirk, we will discuss you but we will try to do it kindly.]


  1. Oh, Dorcas... are you ever the observant one... I'm glad you'll observe me kindly and lovingly.. I just know you will.. *LOL* This was so cute..

    Jesus said for us to be like children, so there you go.... ~Ilva

  2. I love this! I love how little people are gloriously unaware of themselves. It also makes me feel much better when I go to collect my daughter from school and find that my three year old is walking along beside me with his trousers back to front, his gumboots on the wrong feet, and my daughter has spent the day in her new winter uniform with the pleats still tacked together at the bottom. :)