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IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby teach42 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:18 pm

In attendance:
Teach42 9526 (TI)

This was a day of firsts for me. First time organizing an event. First time doing more than one event in a day. First time being seen in costume by my friends. First time trooping without any other 501st members and first time trooping with my son!

Was most definitely a learning experience, but with three events on the day, it really drove home just how different events can be, even when run by the same brand. And having my wife and daughter along with me for the first two made it all the more special.

Event #1: Pottery Barn Kids, Old Orchard (Full photo set)
Aiden and I started the day at PB Kids. We got there before the store opened and changed in the stock room. Not much space, but we made it work. When we stepped out of the door, I was stunned at how many kids were there already. There wasn't much in the way of organization though. I made my way around and interacted with the kids, but I'll be honest, I was pretty nervous and didn't quite know what to do. Plus, several of my friends had come out for the event and were seeing me in my gear for the first time. Strange as it may sound, that also made me a bit nervous. Took photos with a ton of kids and then took a bit of a walk around the store and hung out in front while an employee did some reading. Afterwards, I came back in, interacted with the kids a bit more and wrapped up after about 45 minutes. Aiden hung out with me, but after 2 minutes he had his helmet off and was playing with the other kids there. Was a great way to start the day off!
Lessons learned: 20 minutes is NOT enough time to get both Aiden and I suited up. Don't give a five year old a blaster that makes noise and expect him to keep it quiet during story time.
Image
2012-10-05 at 22.37.38 by teach42, on Flickr

Event #2: Barnes and Noble, Old Orchard (Full photo set)
Between events, I took off my armor and carried both our helmets over to the B&N just around the corner. They were expecting us and rushed us off to the back conference room. They told us we'd be a surprise for the kids and to hang out while they finished the opening story. After about 15 minutes of hanging out, they told us to come out to the children's area. When we got there, there were about 25 kids with parents all gathered around for the story, and they looked pretty stunned to see us. The joy on the kids' faces was really beautiful! We hung out a bit, interacted with them, but as I learned later, they couldn't hear me very well, particularly not in the large group. They were all set to play a "pin the tail on the donkey" type of game involving lightsabers, so I held up the poster for the kids. Then, after a few more photos, they began an arts and crafts project and let us go. This was by FAR the most organized of the three events, but also our shortest time with the kids. Aiden did great, kept his helmet on almost the entire time and had a blast interacting with everyone. I was really proud of how well he handled all the photo ops and kids who wanted to touch his armor.
Lessons learned: You can't perform in front of a group if they can't hear you. On a related note, having your amp inside the TIE chest box muffles the sound WAY too much to be effective.
Image
8064999654_89454d09f9_o by teach42, on Flickr


Event #3: Barnes and Noble, Village Crossing (Full photo set)
After a short lunch break, I headed over to the final event of the day. Aiden, Jess and Ruby stayed at home, so I was truly solo this time. Once again, changed in a stock room but this one was pretty spacious. The staff had a schedule comprised of Padawan level trivia, Jedi level trivia and then storytime. This event had the fewest number of kids, but by this point I was pretty comfortable in the role. When I walked into the kids area, there were a few kids sitting at a table. I didn't say anything, just grabbed a Star Wars book and sat next to them and started 'reading' it. You should have seen the looks on their faces when they saw me! Priceless. This time around, I moved my amp into my pocket and what a difference that made. Everyone could hear me clearly and I started chatting with the kids. Some were looking at SW books and I pointed out my 'friends' (all the imperial forces). I love the page in the Vader and Son book where Luke asks Vader if Maul is a 'good guy or bad guy' and Darth says "Good Guy". So I riffed off of that a ton. I kept reminding kids to root for the empire and to warn me if they saw any of those 'rotten Jedi knights' like Luke Skywalker. Lots of 1 on 1 interaction. I also prepped the kids for the trivia contest by asking them really simple questions about the movies. Once the trivia challenge started, I wandered a bit around the store, freaking kids out (in a good way) and sending them on into the SW Reads area. Lots more pictures, lots of chatting with kids. Event though there were the fewest number of kids at this one, I had the most fun. I think I finally started getting my groove on and just felt comfortable in the role. Stayed about an hour and ducked out just before story time. Highlight of the event was the picture one of the children drew... me and my tie fighter! See pic below
Lessons learned: Relax and have FUN. To the kids, you're the real deal and if you act the part, they'll go right along with you.
Image
2012-10-06 at 02.43.27 by teach42, on Flickr
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby TI4438 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:09 am

An outstanding effort! :thumbs:
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby Fleetfang » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:57 pm

Very well done, Steve!
Very well done, Steve!
Very well done, Steve!

;)
Brian Troyan __________________________ Fleetfang
TB-8968/TK-8968/IG-8968/BH-8968/ID-8968/DZ-8968
501st Legion Public Relations Officer (2012-2017)
Midwest Garrison Commanding Officer (2013-2017)
"Think of the solution, not the problem."
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby Runnin'6712 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:16 pm

ToD updated. Great job trooping! :thumbs:
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby Schph Gochi » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:18 am

Were there any donations involved?
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby teach42 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:22 am

No donations.
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Re: IL - Skokie - SW Reads - PB Kids, B&N and B&N 10/6/12

Postby Schph Gochi » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:50 am

oki-dokey...

it is always my job to ask..
:D
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