Tuesday, February 6, 2007

(Still) Speaking of Advocacy Ops: Festival of Trees..

Personal experience shouts, "Never too early to start putting together this year's entry for the local Festival of Trees.." :GRIN:

What I'm referring to is the year-end holiday "Festival of Trees" that very often can be found in any given local library branch.. This suggestion, of course, is one of those that is up to individual preference on whether or not it is appropriate for one's message..

If you don't already participate, you could start by asking your librarian 1) if they actually have a Festival of Trees each year in your library and 2) where can you sign up if they do have one..

Bear in mind this is a popular participatory opportunity for many local organizations so you may find yourself on a waiting list, maybe even for next year already.. At least you'll be in the lineup for when your turn finally presents..

The way ours here in Pickens County works, sometime in September of each year, applications are sent out to interested parties.. Based on appropriateness of message, a given number of the completed then returned applications are accepted to actually participate..

To be fair to all, spots are chosen by random drawings for position on a first in to put your tree up, first one to draw for a shot at the prime locations.. Fate has been kind here both years I did displayed a tree locally.. Front and Center by the checkout counter.. Who could ask for anything more.. :WINK:

Decoration-wise, read these fingertips :: Don't sweat it.. Repeat after me: "My tree does not have to be fancy.." That instantly takes a TON of pressure off, trust me..

The sky (and space availability) are the limit with respect to creativity in presenting your message.. Mine was very simple:

  • A 5-foot tall artificial tree bought for about $3.50 after the holidays
  • Tips for advocacy and self-advocacy hand-printed on circular cut unlined index cards
  • Small, clear dollar store ornaments dangling on silver pipe cleaners to hang each index card
  • A silvery, nylon butterfly and big bow on top
  • Pretty white garland to round it out and draw it in together
  • A Word or PowerPoint-generated placard for the base

Total cost comes in probably around $10.00 to $15.00 if you really scrounge around.. Places to check for decorations:

  • Your attic, basement, garage, or woefully overstuffed back closet
  • Your local Freecycle listserv
  • Your area's CraigsList freebies and/or wanted message boards
  • Thrift stores
  • Dollar stores

Some nice examples that come to mind include a big tree FULL of gloves for local children.. That one was bursting by holiday's end.. Others included what I believe was the local volunteer fire department bearing all things fireman-inspired.. Some trees bore names of everyone associated with their program.. Still others gathered banners of related service chapters, charters from throughout the area..

Again, the sky's the limit on this one.. No time like the present to plant the seed with your local library if they happen to present their own Festival of Trees, too..

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