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Intellectual and Sports Quest June 18, 2012

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.

On Thursday, June 14, 2012, the Kherson Children’s Library was a beehive of activity! We were happy to sponsor a wonderful event for the participants of two camps, a Leadership Camp for teens and a Sun Camp for local children.  The campers arrived at the Library around 9:30 AM and began a Quest for information on sports and healthy lifestyles in two city parks.

The Quest was a contest between the two camps, with one group starting at Slava Park and the other at Lenin’s Park.  Library staff, local celebrities and volunteers were positioned at different stations around the parks, with activities planned to test the athletic and brain power of the campers.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and everyone was ready for some fun.  The Stations had to be completed in order, so that the teams could progress through the Quest, with the goal of being the first group to finish all of the Stations and return to the Library.

Stations included balloons with questions to be answered about Football, leaves hidden in trees with questions about healthy lifestyles, and exercises led by a boxer.  All of the campers worked hard to complete each station, with plenty of fun and laughter in the process.  Our celebrity quests included a boxer, a sports journalist, a traveler and healthy life style expert, and two Peace Corps Volunteers.  The local TV station followed us on our Quest and interviewed the campers, the celebrities, and the volunteers.

Soon it was time to return to the Library with the sports part of the Quest almost complete.  The Leadership campers were the first group back, and the Sun campers were not far behind.  When everyone arrived in front of the Library, we had a Flash Mob, with campers, library staff, and our celebrities participating in an exercise and dance routine with lively music to get us in the mood.

Then the whole group moved to the cool comfort of the Pink Room for a session of Library Ping Pong.  Awards were given to campers who had outstanding participation, and all campers had a chance to ask questions of the boxer, sports journalist, traveler and healthy life style expert, and the Peace Corps Volunteers.  The children really enjoyed “interviewing” the experts and asked thoughtful and interesting questions.

The morning ended with a chance for everyone to sample a delicious cake, made only of natural, unprocessed, and organic ingredients.  This cake was baked especially for the library to help the campers understand that you can have a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy treats that are good for you!  Everyone agreed that the Quest was a great success!  We had fun, got some exercise, learned a lot and made new friends.  It was a great way to have some summer fun!

New Peace Corps Volunteer June 18, 2012

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.

My name is Mary Beth Phair.  I am the new Peace Corps Volunteer at the Library.  If you come to the library, please visit me in the Windows on America Room on the first floor.  I would love to talk with you and answer your questions about life in America.  I will be working here at the Library and living in Kherson for two years.  I am here with my husband, Steven McCafferty, who is also a Peace Corps Volunteer.  He will be teaching at the Kherson National Technical University, and sometimes visiting the Library as well.

Steve and I come from a small town in the state of Massachusetts.  Massachusetts is in New England, a group of six states that are located in the Northeastern United States.  Boston is the capital of Massachusetts.  It is about 100 miles from my home.  We go to Boston often to visit the historic sites, like the Boston Tea Party and the Freedom Trail, and to cheer for our favorite sports team, the Boston Red Sox.  Many famous battles in the American Revolution took place in Boston, so there is a lot of history to learn about the city.  Boston is also famous for it’s universities.  More than 300,000 students attend university in the Boston area every year.  Famous local universities include Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Boston also has four professional sports teams.  It is home for the New England Patriot’s (american football), the Boston Celtics (basketball), the Boston Red Sox (baseball), and the Boston Bruins (hockey).

Our hometown, which would probably be called a village in Ukraine, is called Belchertown. It is in the western part of Massachusetts, in an area called the Pioneer Valley.  There are about 14,000 residents.  It is a farming community and also a place where many people live and commute to work at nearby larger cities, like Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee.  We have lived there for more than 30 years, and have a 24 year old daughter named Molly McCafferty, who grew up in Belchertown.  Our house is in the forest and we see deer, bears, wild turkeys, foxes, rabbits and eagles in our yard.  One of the many things that we like about Ukraine is that there are many trees and flowers that are the same as those that we see at home.  It is nice to have reminders of home.

Springfield is the city where basketball was invented. In 1891, Dr. James Naismith invented the game as a way for young men to have vigorous indoor exercise in the winter.  It was invented at the YMCA in Springfield. The game has become popular all over the world, partly because American service men brought it to many countries during the Second World War (Great Patriotic War). Kyrylo Fresenko is a Ukrainian who plays basketball in the National Basketball Association, for the Indiana Pacers.

The nearby city of Holyoke is the birthplace of Volleyball.  Apparently, this area has always enjoyed athletics.  Volleyball was invented by Willliam G. Morgan, in 1895, at the YMCA in Holyoke.  YMCA’s are now international, providing sports, camps and other healthy activities for people all over the world.  Maybe even more famous, is the disco tune  “YMCA” recorded by the Village People in 1978.  It is also known all over the world, just like basketball and volleyball.

I hope to see you soon at the library.  Stop by and you can practice your English and find out more about life in America.