Smith and Maggie Pyer are a dynamic team teaching duo at Lebanon
Junior High School. Both Debbie and Maggie received undergraduate
degrees from Granite State College. Debbie is pursuing, while Maggie
has completed, a masters degree from Plymouth State University.
Debbie teaches Family and Consumer Science and is active in Christian
children's ministries. Maggie is a Special Educator and tri-athlete.
Action Fair is a product of both of their passions for youth in
the Upper Valley!
The Fair's mission was to expose parents and teenagers to a variety
of summer and on-going activities and opportunities available within
our community in order to encourage self-expression and developing
interests in our youth.To begin plannig our Action Fair we brainstormed
for ideas about what preteens like when they attend home shows,
trade shows and the like. Out of these discussions came a clear
vision of our show.
Our show would have to include hands on activities, live demonstrations,
give-aways, and drawings for scholarships, raffles, live contemporary
music, and possibly a live radio feed from the event. We began by
determining preteen interest categories: Community Service, Sports/Recreation,
Math/Science, Art/Performing Arts, Camps/Schools, and Safety/Healthy
Choices. On March 23rd approximately one hundred thirty kids attended
the fair with their parents. Thirty vendors and demonstrators showed
off their programs, camps, and activities. Overall Maggie and I
were pleased with the Action Fair. We felt we were organized and
that the vendors felt welcomed and cared for. Many said it was the
most well planned show that they have ever been involved with.Next
year we are planning to allocate less money to direct mail, a.k.a.
brochures, and more to print advertising; e.g. a display ad in the
local papers. We think this would help increase the attendance.
We would also like to engage a larger corporate sponsorship and/or
write a grant for scholarship money for the kids. This year we were
able to cover our expenses and provide three scholarships for three
needy teens.But the most significant change for next year is in
the planning and organizing of the Upper Valley Action Fair; we
would like to involve the students themselves. We want to give over
the ownership of the fair to a contingent of Lebanon Junior High
students and serve only as advisors and coaches, so that this becomes
something for kids by kids.
We certainly felt challenged, both with time and recourses, and
dealing with our business partners often took us outside of our
comfort zones. We plan to take on this endeavor again next year
with the assistance of some enthusiastic students and vendors.
Debbie Smith and Maggie Pyer