Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready, Set, Be Thankful!

Well, the holiday season is here.  I wasn't really ready for it, but it started anyway!  I love the holidays, but I also realize that this is one of the most stressful times of the year.  Financial issues, family issues, the approach of winter and the lack of day light...all contribute to increased stress levels that can take the cheer out of the season.

While there is no simple remedy for combating the stress the holidays bring, there are some things that you can try that may help.  First, and I think perhaps most important, is to step back and take a look at your expectations for the holidays.  Many of us harbor a Norman Rockwell image of what the perfect holiday dinner looks like.  What we need to understand is that this image is a fantasy.  Even Mr. Rockwell himself did not experience what he painted.  Families are families, and life is life.  There will be squabbles and the turkey may well be dry.  Expect it, and  be prepared to go with the flow.  Remember that this years' "disaster" will bring years of "do you remember when" laughter.

As parents we have expectations for our children around the holidays that they may not be aware of.  If the table manners that suffice at home are not going to pass muster at Grandma's holiday table, then talk to them in advance about how you want them to behave.  Also keep in mind that as parents we may find ourselves over reacting to normal child behaviors because we feel like our family is watching us and judging our parenting.  Try to stay relaxed and remember no parent or child is perfect!

Finances bring a lot of stress to the season.  Many of us have an idea of what we want to spend, and then end up exceeding that by leaps and bounds.  Figuring out what your budget needs to be, and then tracking your spending may be tedious, but in the end will leave you in a better state of mind that if you enter January dreading the arrival of the bills.

Even our younger children can understand the concept that different families have different budgets.  Involving your children in activities that help families with less than they have can help
them develop a grateful perspective.  For example, helping collect basic items for families that lost everything in storm Sandy can make the fact that an i phone is out of reach even though some friends are getting them, easier to accept.  While kids do look forward to the big ticket stuff, they can be  thrilled by the little stuff as well.  In families with multiple children, gifts of one on one time with Mom or Dad can be very exciting.  Passes allowing them to stay up an extra half hour or so, or to watch a favorite movie are free and full of potential fun.  Be creative and come up with things that work for your family!

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Relax, breath deeply, and focus on what you are thankful for.  Let the little stuff go! Our community has experienced some unexpected and devastating losses this year. Families are grieving loved ones they lost.  That isn't little stuff.  I hope you have loved and valued people to spend time with this Thanksgiving.  They are the "big stuff".  May you appreciate and enjoy your time with them!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Monster Mash is a success!

Last Friday evening over 125 sixth graders from Wells and Kelly lane schools danced the night away at the first Sixth Grade dance of the year.  Sponsored by the Youth Action Council (a youth leadership and community service group for high school age students) the 6th grade dance is a bi-annual event in Granby.  It is organized and run by the high school students with a little help from AnneMarie and Brita who facilitate the group.

YAC uses proceed from the dances to help fund scholarship programs for graduating GMHS seniors.  This year, any sixth grader who brought an item to donate to the food bank received a discount on the cost of admission.  We were able to collect over 12 bags and four boxes of food for the food pantry!  Way to go Sixth Graders!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bye Bye Sandy! Here are the weeks activities:

Thankfully Sandy seems to have done little damage in our area, although as I type this, there are still slightly over 1000 customers in town without power.

The Youth Service Bureau and the Senior Center will be opening tomorrow for a regular business day.  All scheduled activities will take place.  Please call to double check if you have a question about an activity or trip.

Kids Play You Stay meets tomorrow at Holcomb Farm.  The theme is Halloween fun.

On Friday the YAC 6th Grade Dance will be held.  The Monster Mash begins at 7:00 PM and runs until 9:00.  Admission is $10, $7 with a food bank donation.  Funds raised go to support the YAC High School Scholarship fund and community service projects.

Also on Friday night the GO! group will meet at Holcomb Farm.  The evening activities include a hike, some work on the new fire pit, ping pong, and s'mores for a snack.  Mary Ann and Ryan will be in charge as AnneMarie has to help out at the dance!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Alert!

The storm is approaching.  Granby Schools are closed, which means all routine activities at the Youth Service Bureau and Senior Center are cancelled.  Staff is on site however.

If power outages become wide spread in our area, we will be opening as an emergency shelter.  Information on the shelter will be distributed via the CT Alert system.  You can also call us to check on the status of the town's emergency operations. 

Please be safe!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Calling all youth friendly organizations......

The Town of Granby Youth Service Bureau is working with the Granby Prevention Council to put together a list of contact information for all family and youth serving organizations in our community.  Eventually we would like to make this list available to the public, so if someone is interested in finding an activity for a child, they can see what the options are and find a person to contact for more information.

So, from Girl Scouts to youth groups, classes to sport teams, if youth are involved, we would like to add your group or organization to our list.  Please send a brief discription of your group along with  primary contact information to or call AnneMarie Cox at (860) 844-5355!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Monster Mash is Coming!

Friday November 2nd all Granby 6th graders are invited to our first dance of the year.

From 7 to 9 PM at the Youth Services Building. 

Admission is $10, $7 if you bring a non-perishable food donation.

You must have a signed permission slip.  Forms are available on the town website at

Monday, October 22, 2012

GO!( Guys Only)  welcomed two new members from East Granby last Friday evening.  The rain put a damper on our plans to visit the HAZE Corn Maze, so we decided to stay dry and hang out at the YSB.  In the spirit of the season, we headed to the kitchen and using Mrs. Cox's secret recipe, made deep fried donuts and donut holes.  Fresh cider and warm donuts...Delicious!!

We are hoping that the weather stays dry for this Friday, as we are planning to make it to the HAZE maze before it closes at the end of the month.

For more information on GO! or any of our other youth development programs, give AnneMarie Cox a call at (860) 844-5355.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Youth Action Council update:

YAC met last evening to plan the first 6th grade dance.  The date is set for November 2nd.  The theme will be the Monster Mash and we will have face painting and games as well as great music and decorations.

Some discussion took place regarding this year's YAC staff t-shirts.  In honor of Stan (an honorary member of our YAC) the color will be light pink and RJ is working on the design.

YAC will continue to work with developing an acceptable diversity/ safe zone sticker to be provided to the Middle School staff.  This project will also include presentations to GMMS students about the safe zone project.

See you all on the 2nd at 4:00 for dance prep!

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Wednesday the kids from the GMMS Student Union get a chance to share all they do with the members of the Granby School Board.  7:00 PM at the Board of Education Building.  Stop by and support them!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What's a geo-tag?

Did you know that when you take a picture with a GPS enabled smart phone, that photo will have information coded into the digital image that when posted allows anyone with even basic image enhancing software to find the exact location where the picture was taken?

It's true, they can!  We learned this and much more at the Internet Safety Program hosted here at the YSB last week.  While the hotos you post to Facebook currently have this geo-tagging information removed, other sites such as the very popualr Instagram do not.  A stalker can, with four clicks of a mouse, find the exact location of you son or daughter's home from an innocent picture snapped at a family cookout.....

If you or your children are going to take pictures and upload them to the web, remember to disable the GPS function before taking the picture!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Programs

Fall is here and we are up and running with our back to school programs. 

Positive Youth Development:

WOW- Women on the Way quickly filled.  Over 30 girls in grades 9-12 registered and will be meeting weekly to explore new activities, make new friends and have some fun.

GO! begins on Friday October 12th.  The boys, in 6th and 7th grade will be out and about exploring our parks and trails.  When the weather lets us down, we will head to Holcomb Farm or the Senior Center for some ping pong and other inside games.

YAC: The Youth Action Council held a very successful retreat in September.  Camp Jewel was a great location for the group to come together as a team.  Our next meeting is on October 17th when we will begin planning the first 6th grade dance of the year.

Free Support Groups:

Around Again, a group for grandparents raising their grandchildren continues to meet on Thursdays at 12:00 noon.  New members are always welcome and evening meetings are easily scheduled to accommodate those grandparents still working during the afternoons.

Our Women's Divorce Support Group is meeting on Thursdays at 6:30 here at the YSB.  Enrollment is open, so please consider joining us to make some community connections with others also going through this difficult process.

Our Substance Abuse Support Group for Adolescents will begin meeting at 7:00 PM on Monday evenings.  This group is open to any teens able to attend who feel substance use is having a negative impact on their lives.

The Youth Service Bureau is working in close collaboration with the Granby Public School system.  One great example is the Internet safety series of presentations held October 4th and 5th.  Another example are the various middle school groups that are being co facilitated by YSB and GMMS staff.

Enjoy the colors of fall,