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Fall 2017


STUFF the Upper Valley’s go-to guide for parents, families and caregivers

The Joy of Improv Sign Language:

A Handy Tool for Babies and Toddlers (and their parents!)

Hey, "Lego" on a Day Trip! Explore The Little Nature Museum Why Being Trauma Aware Matters

This issue sponsored by Sunapee Yoga Company •

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Fall 2017


The Joy of Improv



6 20

DEPARTMENTS 12 Day Trips: Legoland and Saint Johnsbury, Vt. Text and photographs by Laura Jean Whitcomb and Anna Rubin 24 Calendar: Out and About Compiled by Amy Cranage 32 Science: The Little Nature Museum Text and photographs by Barbara Mills Lassonde

34 Good Reads: Pep Talks for the Would-be Artist By Laura Jean Whitcomb 36 Parenting: Trauma Informed Support for Families By Melony Williams, TLC Family Resource Center 39 FunFest: Schedule & thank you to our sponsors!

Improvisation, an age-old theatrical technique, has morphed into a learning tool, team builder and problem-solving strategy. Opportunities for young people to exercise their improv skills continue to multiply in the Upper Valley. By Kim J. Gifford

16 Talk with Your Hands Until a toddler learns to speak, communication between parents and baby can be a guessing game with unreliable results. Mastering a handful of signs in American Sign Language can bridge the gap and, at the same time, offers a wonderful opportunity to learn together. By Kelly Jarosz

20 Blue Wave Taekwondo Since its arrival in the Upper Valley in 1988, Blue Wave Taekwondo has ushered hundreds of students through its ranks at several locations. One aspect remains constant: dedicated and tireless instruction. By Kim J. Gifford




editor’s note With feature articles about American Sign Language, Taekwondo and Improv, this issue of Kid Stuff unintentionally ended up with an underlying theme: nurturing kids’ self-esteem and confidence. How empowering it must be for babies and toddlers to make their needs known before they can speak, for a girl to know she can break a board with her bare hands, and for the shyest of the shy to know that his teammates will always say, “yes, and…” to him in an improv exercise. But what about less fortunate kids who don’t receive the nurturing they need? In Parenting, we discuss the needs of children who experience adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the importance of recognizing how trauma can impact every aspect of their lives. Elsewhere, you’ll find a day trip idea that will “click” for many, a jam-packed calendar of events and things to do, a review of a book by a local author and artist, and the inside scoop on The Little Nature Museum in Warner, N.H.

Worried about a bumpy transition back to school? To ease the ride, Kid Stuff is hosting our annual Family FunFest on September 9 at Whaleback Mountain, in Enfield, N.H. Family FunFest is about families and fun (obviously), education and entertainment, local businesses and nonprofits, games and goodies — a day of memory making right here in the Upper Valley. All we ask is that you bring a donation for the Upper Valley Haven; admission is FREE. We look forward to seeing you there!

Amy Cranage Associate Editor

Find the Flower and win FREE Stuff The Kid Stuff logo (flower symbol pictured above) is hidden in one ad in this issue. To enter, find the logo and email the following to

 

1. The ad (name of the business) in which you found the logo 2. Your full name and mailing address 3. A question for the kids: Of all the books you read over the summer, which one was your favorite and why? 4. We’ll select TWO winners to receive a $25 gift certificate to Tip Top Pottery in White River Junction, Vt. The winners will be announced on Facebook and in the next issue. Good luck! Congratulations to Hamra Akram of lebanon, N.H., who found the flower in the the summer issue. He won three fidget spinners!

                  4



STUFF P.O. Box 500 Grantham, N.H. 03753 (603) 863-7048

Offering quality pre-school, kindergarten and after-care.

PUBLISHER Kearsarge Magazine LLC EDITOR Laura Jean Whitcomb

Year round care provided with a great “Discovery Camp.”


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We would love for you to visit anytime, please call to set up a visit.

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Kim Gifford Kelly Jarosz Barbara Mills Lassonde Anna Rubin Laura Jean Whitcomb Melony Williams

22 School Street, Lebanon, N.H. 603-443-9626 Hours 7:30–5:30


Kim Gifford Laura Jean Whitcomb Barbara Mills Lassonde Wojciech Jarosz







Kid Stuff is the go-to guide for parents, grand­parents and caregivers. Published four times a year (Spring, fall, fall, winter), Kid Stuff is available at 100+ locations across the Upper Valley, and mailed to schools, child cares, doctor/ dentist offices and hair salons. Copyright 2017 by Kearsarge Magazine LLC. All photographs and articles copyright by the photographer or writer unless otherwise noted. Except for one-time personal use, no reproduction without written permission of the copyright owner(s) is allowed. ON THE COVER Apple Season Lucy Thompson picks apples at King Blossom Farm in Grantham, N.H. Photo taken by Laura Jean Whitcomb

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Featured Exhibitions Over 140 Hands-On Exhibits David Goudy Science Park Nature Trails Live Animals Daily Activities





Not only is it ridiculously fun, this tried-and-true theatre technique also improves listening, teamwork and problem solving skills – while building confidence and self-esteem.

BY KIM J. GIFFORD In the Upper Valley, improv has earned a reputation as a fun activity with the perks of building kids’ confidence, encouraging teamwork, and fostering a variety of skills that promise to help them succeed now and in the future. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary relates the term “improv” to improvisation — “to speak or perform without preparation, to make or create (something) by using whatever is available.” In common usage, it is associated with stand-up or improvised comedy routines. Improv is used in theater to loosen actors up and get them thinking on their feet. Linda Treash of Barnard, Vt., and instructor of the BarnArts Teen Touring Company in Barnard, Vt. defines improv as “creative dramatization in real time.”

“YES, AND…” The core mantra of improv in theater is “Yes, and....” Participants are expected to work with the premise being offered and move forward from there. Becky Byars, a member of Valley Improv, an improvisational 6



comedy troupe founded in 2010 and based in Lebanon, N.H., explains, “a kid may come on stage acting like he is on a skateboard, at least that’s what he has in mind. Another may look at him and say, ‘that’s such good surf board form’ and all of a sudden he has to let go of ‘skateboard’ and embrace ‘surf board,’ and that’s okay. That’s what kids learn — it’s okay not to have to know every little piece ahead of time because you have teammates, who work with you and help you, even when things change.” As a result, Byars categorizes improv as “a community endeavor.” Many describe it as collaboration, an act of listening. In reality, people improvise daily in their conversations, but there still remains a fear of the unknown and of getting in front of people when it is unscripted. Improv can actually be helpful in overcoming these fears.

ROOM FOR IMPROV In addition to BarnArts, ArtisTree in Pomfret, Vt., and Open Door in White River Junction, Vt., have offered improv workshops, classes and teen camps. Destination Imagination — an organization with annual competitions locally and globally that is dedicated “to teaching participants the essential skills of creativity,

teamwork and problem solving” — includes improv as one of its core competitive challenges. Last summer, Hollis Westling of Norwich, Vt., and Stephen Griswold of Norwich, Vt., led a sketch comedy and improv acting class at the Open Door Workshop in White River Junction, Vt. Westling, a college student, has benefitted personally from improv. Although always “a ham,” and, as a child, put on plays for her family, when she reached second grade, she felt herself building a shell and going “very deep inside it,” she says. A fifth-grade teacher helped her break the shell by asking her to tell a story in front of the whole school. “She bribed me with chocolate,” she says. “I felt ridiculous. I flailed my arms and everyone laughed. I thought, ‘This feels great.’” Westling channeled this great feeling into future endeavors, taking improv classes in middle school and performing in plays. “Improv and comedy helped me through my awkward stages, being all of middle and high school.” It also helped in overcoming depression. “A big thing improv helped me with was getting me to be myself. In improv there are essentially no gender roles, a woman can play an old man, a man can play an elegant ›››››




Kids (and adults!) no longer have to worry that their idea will be criticized or ridiculed; it is accepted, no matter what it is. Improv is noncompetitive in nature and ideal for introverts and extroverts alike. It helps bring introverts out of themselves while channeling extroverts’ bountiful social energy. woman. You can be anything,” says Westling.

GUARANTEED ACCEPTANCE Kate Gamble of Hanover, N.H., and owner of the Open Door Workshop adds, “You have to be able to improv in the real world.” “Even a job interview can become a form of improvisation,” Westling points out. Improv is important as a form of “self-expression, finding one’s voice and being comfortable in one’s own skin,” says Gamble. She looks at her own daughter and other young women in the Upper



Valley and sees a trend toward following the pack and defining oneself by her looks. “We need to create opportunities [for these young girls] to discover, articulate, share, and expose different aspects of their personalities as they go into adulthood.” Murray Ngoima of South Pomfret, Vt., works with BarnArts Teen Touring Company and agrees that improv “creates a camaraderie not based on cliques or rules or structures.” Some of this may be attributed to the safe environment it creates. In other words, because


improv encourages participants to work off a “Yes, and…” scenario, the fear of rejection is taken out of the equation. Kids no longer have to worry that their idea will be criticized or ridiculed; it is accepted, no matter what it is. Improv is noncompetitive in nature and ideal for introverts and extroverts alike. It helps bring introverts out of themselves while channeling extroverts’ bountiful social energy.

DESTINATION IMAGINATION Dartmouth College student Geoff Blike of Grantham, N.H., became

involved in Destination Imagination (DI) as an outlet for energy. His fifth-grade teacher, recognizing that he was a class clown, encouraged him to take part in DI to put his creative energy to use. DI is described as “a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic Challenges.” The DI menu includes a theater challenge that allows students to experience improv as well as “instant” challenges that require participants to work on the fly using materials such as soda straws or index cards to create an object or build a structure.

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What is the best age for orthodontics? “It really teaches kids to learn things on their own in order to apply them to a problem or project. An Instant Challenge is more a test of imagination, quick thinking, and team work because there is so little time. It frees kids to figure out how to do a job and communicate quickly and effectively,” says Craig Richardson of Amherst, N.H., and chairman of the board for the New Hampshire branch of Destination Imagination. Blike says that participating in DI has made him who he is today. “I have no problem presenting in a group…It also teaches you to work with people who aren’t necessarily your best friends. You work together to achieve the best possible product because you are all united in the same goal.”

PREP FOR THE MAINSTAGE Adam Farinas, 17, of Barnard, Vt., feels he has benefitted from working with BarnArts Teen Touring Company. Farinas says improv has helped him be ›››››

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WEB a better actor. “Years ago, when I did A Midsummer Night’s Dream I forgot a page of lines. Now when I act, I am able to forget little mistakes and blow through problems that occur.” Allister Wigglesworth, 15, of Bethel, Vt., says that the improv games they used to prepare for their play on bullying had “a good effect. Many opened up and said they had been bullied or been a bully,” he says. Ira Sargent of Williamstown, Vt., has taught improv workshops at ArtisTree. He feels improv helps participants develop life skills that allow them to move on and recover from mistakes. “We get so invested in being good or right, so when something doesn’t work out for whatever reason, we can really be crushed rather than being able to just leave it to the side, carry on, and try something else. Improv teaches us to do just that,” he says.

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Saint Johnsbury, Vt.

Lego Discovery Center NORTH: Saint Johnsbury, Vt.

Plan a visit to the gateway to Vermont’s astounding Northeast Kingdom. BY ANNA RUBIN, FAIRBANKS MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE A day in Saint Johnsbury can be active or contemplative with lots of choices for kids and families to explore together. Rainy day adventures might include a scavenger hunt among the eclectic collections in the Fairbanks Museum and a guided tour of the cosmos in Vermont’s only public planetarium. Clear skies could lead to a romp with the family dog on Dog Mountain, or a bike ride along the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. And winter fun includes skating and skiing on a scale that brings you close to each other while you discover this surprising community. Saint Johnsbury straddles the Moose, Sleepers and Passumpsic Rivers as they join to flow into the Connecticut River. This watershed — the “upper-Upper Valley” — is your gateway to Vermont’s pristine Northeast Kingdom, the three-county region that stretches north to Canada. A number of astonishing discoveries make Saint Johnsbury an inviting day trip or weekend getaway with the whole family. The most visible history dates to the Victorian era, when Saint Johnsbury flourished. It was here that the Fairbanks Scales Company produced the platform scale, which standardized weights and bridged America’s agricultural and nascent industrial economies. Thanks to an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, three brothers — Thaddeus, Erastus and Joseph 12



Fairbanks — patented and sold Fairbanks Scales around the world, bringing a family fortune and thriving foundry to Saint Johnsbury. Their legacy is alive today in the form of the institutions they established: Saint Johnsbury Academy, an independent secondary school; the Saint Johnsbury Athenaeum, the library and elegant gallery of Hudson River School masterworks; and the Fairbanks Museum of Natural Science, northern New England’s premier natural history museum.

Today, Saint Johnsbury offers a balance of small town community and big city inspiration. Classic Victorian charm mixes with vibrant contemporary arts. A day in “Saint Jay,” as it’s known to locals, includes extraordinary options in all seasons. Start your visit at the Welcome Center, a renovated depot that is a reminder of the importance of rail traffic in the 1800s. There are public bathrooms and helpful ambassadors as well as maps and guides.



What to do and see in Saint Jay:

· Artisan’s Guild (cooperative gallery

with 100 local artists and artisans)

· St. Johnsbury Athenaeum (public library and gallery with Hudson River School masterpieces)

· Catamount Film & Arts (contemporary film, visual, and performing arts venue)

· Dog Mountain (Stephen Huneck Gallery and Dog Chapel)

· Fairbanks Museum (Northern New England’s Museum of Natural History)

· St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center (local lore and artifacts)

· Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (all-season, off-road exploration)

· Maple Grove Farms of Vermont (making

pure Maple syrup and candies since 1905)

Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2017 802.763.3280 A visit to the Fairbanks Museum is a step into the Victorian era and an invitation to experience the natural and man-made world in new ways. Founded in 1891, this eclectic museum is full of animals and artifacts that reflect the collectors’ wonder and curiosity about, well, everything. It’s a refreshing change of pace to wander through the displays that include a family of flamingoes, an enormous moose, several bears and “Bug Art” — mosaics created entirely of beetles and moths. The museum offers scavenger hunts that keep kids engaged and audio tours that add depth to your experience. The Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium was installed in 1961 and remains Vermont’s only public planetarium. A variety of shows, some specifically for younger audiences, are presented by the museum’s astronomy team. ›››››

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SOUTH: Lego Discovery Center

Itching for a car ride? There’s plenty to do in the Upper Valley, but maybe you want to take a day trip to someplace unusual, like an indoor Lego playground? TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB I wasn’t sure if my 12-year-old daughter was too old for a Lego Discovery Center, but it turns out that no one is too old for a Legoland Discovery Center — me, included. After a rather uneventful week at home, we decided to hop in the car and take a drive to the Lego Discovery Center Boston in Somerville, Mass. It had been on our list of things to do for a long time, well, a couple years. It was a nice, sunny day — not too hot, not too cold — we had a bit of cash in our pocket, so why not?

We bought our tickets online (it’s best to reserve a time because the center can let in only so many visitors at once). It was an easy trip down I-93 (don’t forget some change for the tolls) and parking is free, both on Assembly Row and in the parking garage on Artisans Way. The center is easy to find: just look for the 20-foot tall giraffe made of Legos by the entrance.




WEB Once inside, you can take advantage of a variety of activities. Some are best suited to the 3 to 10 age range, like the Lego Duplo Farm play zone and the Build and Test race car track, but we enjoyed the 4D movie, Miniland (the Boston landscapes made of Legos are amazing!) and the Minifigure trading. We brought in some of our older Minifigures, perhaps with mismatching arms, and got some great new Batman Minifigures by trading with staff members. There’s a café if you get hungry, plenty of places to sit and regroup, and photo opportunities abound: you can take selfies with Lego ice cream sundaes, large size Lego Minifigures or in front of Lego backgrounds. After we had our fill of Legos, we explored Assembly Way, which has a nice assortment of big box stores, like the Christmas Tree Shops, and factory outlet stores, like Nike, Brooks Brothers and JCrew. A short walk takes you to a waterfront park on the Mystic River. There’s even a fun candy store and some wonderful restaurants. All in all, the day set us back about $150 (two discounted tickets online, gas and tolls, lunch and a purchase at the Lego store). But the memories — and the photos — are worth so much more!

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BY KELLY JAROSZ PHOTOS BY WOJCIECH JAROSZ The other day, my 1-year-old daughter came to me with a determined look and said, “Ba!” If I relied only on her words to understand her, I might have started a frantic game of Twenty Questions — do you want to play with a ball? Do you see a bird? Do you want to read a book? Fortunately, I do not rely only on her words. At the same time that she said “Ba!” she patted her rounded fingers together — the sign for BALL. And off we went to play with the ball.

STRESS PREVENTION American Sign Language (ASL) can be an amazing tool to communicate with children of all ages and abilities. At ages as young as 6 months, babies can learn to sign to communicate their needs and wants — and this results in decreased frustration and fewer tantrums. The two-way communication made possible through signing is a wonderful way to bond with your little one, while also learning a second language used by millions of people every day.




American Sign Language empowers little ones before they can speak, accelerates two-way communication, and decreases tantrum-causing misunderstandings.

Michelle Whitaker, ASL interpreter and mother of two in Plainfield, N.H., says, “For my own children, learning a few signs has helped to diffuse potential temper tantrums. It has helped both me and them calm down by using a sign instead of raising our voices. Taking those few extra seconds eases the tension and lets them know they are being listened to, and helps me know what they need.”

Myth vs. Fact Myth: Only deaf children need sign language. Fact: Signing is beneficial for all children. Children who sign can communicate their needs before they can speak clearly. This leads to less frustration, greater learning and stronger bonds with caregivers. Myth: Signing delays speech development. Fact: Because it helps a child link the sign with the spoken word and the concept, research shows that children who sign learn to speak at a younger age than those who do not. Myth: Parents must be fluent in American Sign Language to teach it to their children. Fact: Parents need to know only one or two signs to start signing with their children. MORE and ALL DONE are common “first” signs.



Before young children speak clearly, signing can save time and reduce frustration during the thousand daily moments when your child is hungry, tired, scared or sad. For example, at a recent playdate, a toddler girl was playing on a rocking horse. After a few moments, she caught her mom’s eye and signed HELP. Her mom immediately understood her daughter’s sign and helped her off the rocking horse without anyone getting upset. When my older daughter was about 18 months old, she signed HURT and pointed to her ear. She had no other symptoms and was in a good mood. I didn’t believe that she could be sick while happily signing HURT. I took her to the pediatrician anyway, who confirmed she indeed had an ear infection. Had she not been able to sign, her ear infection likely would have gotten much worse — and she would have been in more pain — before we realized she needed to see a doctor.

UNEXPECTED BENEFITS Preschool and school-aged children enjoy learning through signing because it incorporates movement while they learn a second language and increase literacy skills. Signing enhances learning throughout childhood by helping children understand the connection between a sign, a concept, a spoken word and a written word. Sign language is invaluable to families in loud situations, such as a birthday party, outdoor concert or summer fair. It’s much easier to ask your child if she needs to use the bathroom by catching her eye and signing POTTY rather than yelling over the noise of a bounce house.

Kelly Jarosz teaches ASL classes throughout the Upper Valley.






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For children with speech delays or developmental challenges, signing can be a crucial stepping stone to spoken communication and a practical learning tool. ASL may be the only form of communication available to children who do not speak due to hearing loss, tracheotomy, apraxia of speech or autism. Says Whitaker, “Having been active in the Deaf community, I’ve been awed by children as young at 6 months communicate with their signing Deaf parents. Those children have had a full visual language available to them from birth, so as soon as they can control their fingers and facial expressions they can start communicating, way before the vocal cords can.”

Signing enhances learning throughout childhood by helping children understand the connection between a sign, a concept, a spoken word and a written word.

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Learning sign language breaks down communication barriers and builds relationships for millions of children and adults with communication challenges. Vanessa Cramer, who signs with her toddler in Chelsea, Vt., says, “My uncle was born almost completely deaf. He reads lips well but has trouble understanding new names. I used to write them down for him, but now I can sign!”

ACCELERATED COMMUNICATION During stroller rides with my daughters when they were little ones, we had conversations about birds chirping in the trees, loud trains rushing by, or the cold wind on our faces before they could speak about any of these topics. It’s amazing to discover what’s going on in their heads when they can sign. I’ve learned not to underestimate what they can do and, in turn, they continually surprise me. The ability to “talk with your hands” has definitely been a gift and advantage in our family. Kelly Jarosz teaches ASL vocabulary to little ones and their families through classes, story times and workshops in the Upper Valley. She lives with her family in Hanover, N.H.

Grades 7-12 For more information contact




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We have been working to keep generations of families in the Upper Valley healthy and happy for more than thirty years. With us your family is in good hands — and our doctors are kid-approved. We are now accepting pediatric patients and their families and we would love to have you join our family practice.






Students credit a dedicated teacher for the myriad of positive ways Taekwondo has impacted their lives.




The Richard W. Black Community Center in Hanover, N.H., is quiet this afternoon. Next Thursday, however, it will be filled with children perfecting their kicks and forms in Master Stephen Hopkins’ Blue Wave Taekwondo class. Today, the parent of a former student stops in to express her appreciation to Hopkins for the impact his instruction had on her son. “He’s 35 now and took Taekwondo when he was in high school,” Hanover resident Jill Hatch says of her son, Michael, who earned a second-degree black belt and credits the martial art as the source of his interest in Asian studies — which became his major at Middlebury College. “The philosophy of Taekwondo, the focus and control, centers a kid. They realize their core values and the physical part — always very good for a kid at that age — gives them a lot of confidence.” After college, Michael worked in an art gallery in Beijing and then earned a graduate degree from Princeton University. Now, he’s a professor of Asian art at Miami University of Ohio. All this happened because he signed up for a class at Blue Wave Taekwondo when he was in high school.



THE WAY OF THE FOOT AND THE FIST So, what is this sport that becomes a way of life? Fundamentally, Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. Roughly translated, it means “the way of the foot and the fist,” explains Hopkins. “Its distinction, as opposed to karate, is its reliance on spinning, jumping, flying, and kicking — the kicking is very dynamic.” Students of all ages are quick to sing the praises of the sport and the discipline it requires. In addition to its physical component, Taekwondo includes instruction in five character-building tenets: courtesy,


Dianne Wallace of Grantham, N.H., whose sons Sid, 13, and Mitch, 10, take Taekwondo, says, “Master Hopkins is tireless in his teaching. I’ve often told him that I don’t know how he does it. His patience, teaching, planning, dependability and effort in keeping the kids interested and connected is incredible. If even just one of his students is competing in a tournament, he’ll clear his calendar and be there with them and for them every step of the way.” Although Hopkins eschews such attention, he agrees that he has a responsibility beyond martial arts instruction. “I have parents say that other than them, I spend more time with their kid than anybody. I end up writing college recommendations and job recommendations and scholarship recommendations. Their essays are about their Taekwondo experiences. It is more than just a sport really, more of a family, almost like a lifestyle, really.”

integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Taekwondo and Judo are the only martial arts recognized as Olympic sports. Hopkins took up Taekwondo at age 36. “I liked the idea of the mental discipline as well as the physical discipline,” he says. Ten months after signing up at Yang Moon College of Taekwondo in New Orleans, La., Hopkins moved to the Upper Valley. In 1994 he enrolled at Blue Wave Taekwondo, then owned by Larry and Linda Smith-Blais. He has been teaching since 2003. ›››››





husband started their program at the Lebanon Elks Lodge in 1988. The school moved to Hanover in 2003. Today, there are approximately 75 students — 59 kids and 16 adults.

ROLES AND GOALS The variety in age allows older students to serve as role models for the younger ones. Jeffrey Boitnott of Hanover, a second dan black belt, agrees. “Being a black belt means that I have a lot of responsibility. I am expected to be a role model for other students as well as practice and perform at the highest standards.” He notes that one of his biggest challenges has been “finding the balance between setting my goals and helping other students reach theirs.” His Taekwondo experience helped Boitnott discover a love of teaching and inspired him to serve as a Spanish tutor and an assistant childcare aide at Dartmouth College. Like Hopkins, he describes the Hanover dojang as “a second family.” Tanner Ames, 12, of Grantham, agrees. “We do things together that are not related to Taekwondo — like the drive-in, waterpark and parties. My favorite is the winter and summer camps.” COURTESY OF BLUE WAVE TAEKWONDO

Linda Smith-Blais has been at the sport since 1978. “I got hooked right away. It was fun, fast, and I was learning new things I thought I could never do.” Today, Hopkins and Smith-Blais are business partners, running the Hanover Blue Wave Taekwondo School. He instructs the children while she handles the adults. Hopkins offers classes at the Grantham Village School in addition to Hanover. Master Bruce V. Twing, the founder of Blue Wave Taekwondo, brought the sport to Vermont in 1969. Today, there are five schools in Vermont, two in New Hampshire, one in Maine, one in Massachusetts, and one in Virginia. Many other former students have established schools of their own. Smith-Blais and her


Masters Stephen Hopkins and Linda Smith-Blais

Students often compete in tournaments.




FAMILY FRIENDLY It is not unusual to have family members of different ages in the same class. Tanner’s brother, Cole, 14, signed up after watching one of Tanner’s classes. “One of Taekwondo’s greatest differences from other sports is that kids get to work with people of all ages,” says their mother, Erin Ames. “My sons have grown friendships with students much older and much younger.” Parents praise the sport because “no one sits on the bench.” Everyone proceeds at his or her own pace and competes on his or her own terms. Kristen Miller, also of Grantham, is grateful that her son, Stephen, has the option of cutting back

on classes during the basketball season and resuming again without the fear of penalty. Wallace notes that her husband, Jack, is an airline pilot and travels a lot. Their family appreciates the fact that Taekwondo does not require that they “go all over for games and practices.”

PARENTAL PRAISE Arti Gaur, mother of Vidushi Sharma, 12, of Hanover, loves the fact that her daughter is attracted to a sport that encourages her “to be a strong woman, both intellectually and physically.” Gaur says that SmithBlais and Hopkins work to create “an atmosphere of security for students” that “increases their confidence.” Perhaps Ames sums up Blue Wave Taekwondo best

when she says, “When your young child sees someone jump over three people to complete a flying sidekick to break a board, his or her jaw will drop, as will yours,” she says. “When, a few years later, it is your children doing the exact same thing in unison, the audience gasps, their jaws drop, our heart swells and your children are proud.” Kim J. Gifford is a writer, photographer/artist, avid dog lover and blogger. Her Bethel, Vt., home is always filled with nieces and nephews and her three pugs: Alfie, Waffles and Amore. Find her at





The fall calendar is sponsored by

September 2 Sat/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Labor & Leisure Day Discover work and fun on the farm during a day packed with activities and programs for every generation. Help build a split rail fence, wash laundry in the farmhouse basement using a washboard and wringer, and lend a hand cranking (and sampling) delicious ice cream. In the farm fields, join in or watch an exciting game of historic baseball. >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. > $4 to $14 >>

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September 3 Sun/2 p.m.

Saint-Gaudens Summer Concert Series Finale Pack a picnic basket and partake in the last of a series of summer concerts. The performances carry on a tradition by Augustus Saint-Gaudens who often held concerts in his studio for family and friends. >> Little Studio, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, 139 Saint-Gaudens Road, Cornish, N.H. >> Age 16+ $10, 15 and under free >>

September 9 Sat/1 to 3 p.m.

Family FunFest 2017 Be sure to join Kid Stuff magazine and our event sponsors on Saturday, Sept. 9. We've got a fun day planned. See raptors with VINS, Magician Andrew Pinard, Storyteller Simon Brooks, pony rides, yoga, photo booth, raffles and more! >> Whaleback Mountain, Enfield, N.H. >> Free with food pantry donation >>

September 9 Sat/1 to 3 p.m.

Wings of Hope Butterfly Release This annual community event brings together families to celebrate life and honor loved ones who have passed away. Also features live music, free refreshments, face painting, kids’ activities. Proceeds support VNH Hospice programs and services, which are provided to all, regardless of ability to pay, in more than 160 communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. >> Colburn Park, North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> Free >>





September 9 and 10 Sat/10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun/10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

25th Annual Glory Days Festival Fun for the entire family — train excursions along the Connecticut River, a tractor show, live music, children’s rides and entertainment, food, Lego display, and railroad engines. Interactive displays include railroad horns, trivia questions, workable signals and an engineer’s stand. >> Downtown White River Junction, Vt. >> Free admission >>

September 10 Sun/10 a.m.

11th Annual Tour de Taste: A Pedaling Picnic Enjoy the autumn foliage and beautiful scenery at your own pace, meet local food producers and community members, and stop at local farms and restaurants along the way to taste delicious harvest bounty. Proceeds benefit the Upper Valley Trails Alliance. >> Samuel Morey Elementary School, School Street, Fairlee, Vt. >> $27.50 >>

September 16 Sat/8 to 10 p.m.

Star Party Stellafane Observatory sets up its solar telescopes on the grounds of Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, N.H., to co-host the park’s annual star party. >> Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, 139 Saint-Gaudens Road, Cornish, N.H. >> Age 16+ $10, 15 and under free >> >>

September 23 Sat/9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Museum Day Live! In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, Museum Day Live! is an annual event in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket. >> The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens, 456 New Hampshire 103A, Newbury, N.H. >> Adults, $10, seniors and students, $8, children ages 6 to 17 $4; 5 and under free; families of 2 adults and 2 or more children ages 6 or above $25. Free for Museum Day Ticket holders. >>

September 23 and 24 Sat and Sun/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival This annual event features informative programs and activities in the forest and at the farm. Meet notable furniture makers and wood artisans and watch demonstrations of their intricate skills. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the forest, make your own woodcrafts, and explore the property with NPS Ranger tours. >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

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September 24 Sun/11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

September 24 to 30 Daily/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

19th Century Apple & Cheese Harvest Festival and Apple Pie Baking Competition Bring the whole family to a harvest festival featuring face-painting, live music and an apple pie contest. Meet farm animals, make cider in an antique press, and taste heirloom apples, fine artisan cheeses, ice cream and homemade apple pie. Play period games, hike the lookout trail and play Valley Quest. Admission includes lunch. >> Justin Smith Morrill Homestead, 214 Justin Morrill Memorial Highway, Strafford, Vt. >> Adults $10, children under 15 $5 >>

Take a Child Outside Week The Fells participates in Take a Child Outside Week, an international program created to help and encourage children discover the natural world. Be part of this national movement and bring a child to The Fells to experience the beauty of our natural world. >> The Fells, 456 Route 103A, Newbury, N.H. >> Adults $10, seniors $8, children free. Bring a child, receive one free adult admission. >>

September 24 Sun/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Harvest Moon and Naturefest Celebrate the harvest and see how Native Americans lived harmoniously with nature. There will be live animal demonstrations and hands-on activities for kids as well as Native American food, music, storytelling and craft demonstrations. Proceeds benefit the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum and The Little Nature Museum. >> The Little Nature Museum and Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, 18 Highlawn Road, Warner, N.H. >> Adults/students age 13+ $10, children 6 to 12 $5, children under 6 free (family $30 max.), members $5, member children under 12 free, native Americans and active military free. >> >>

September 24 Sun/9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Antique Tractors and One-Lungers Volunteers at The Ice House will pull out some of the museum’s one-lunger engines to get them running. Some antique tractors will get moving as well. Join the fun! >> The Ice House Museum, 91 Pleasant Street, New London, N.H. >> Donations accepted >>

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September 30 Sat/9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sculptural Visions Special Event Meet with artists demonstrating different sculptural techniques, such as modeling with clay, carving wood and stone, working with metal and wire, fabric paper to form sculptures. >> Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, 139 Saint-Gaudens Road, Cornish, N.H. >> Free in celebration of National Public Lands Day >>

September 30 Sat/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shaker Harvest Festival Celebrate the autumn harvest with horse-drawn wagon and pony rides, a hay stack treasure hunt, cider making, and butter churning, ice cream cranking, candle dipping, traditional crafts, including broom making, farm animals, musical entertainment and museum tours. >> Enfield Shaker Museum, 447 N.H. Route 4A, Enfield, N.H. >> Adults $12, age 13 to 17 $8, age 12 and under $5, families of three or more $20 >>

October 1

Sun/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Harvest Day Enjoy the beauty of fall on the farm. The Homestead will be open for tours and hayrides will be available. Watch as artists demonstrate and exhibit their skills and crafts. Fresh produce and homemade soups will be on sale. >> Muster Field Farm, Harvey Road, North Sutton, N.H. >> Free >>

October 7

Sat/8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Born to Run 5k Enjoy a beautiful run through the roads and the woods of Cornish, N.H. This unique hybrid race raises funds to prevent child abuse by supporting TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont, N.H. This is a family and pet friendly event. For kids, there’s a free Pumpkin Patch Dash Obstacle Course. >> Town Hall, 294 Town House Road, Cornish, N.H. >> Registration $25, under 12 free >>

September 30 and October 1 Sat and Sun/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pumpkin and Apple Celebration Lend a hand pressing cider and making pumpkin and apple ice cream, take the apple tasting test, have fun with pumpkin bowling and apples on a string, and stop by the farmhouse kitchen as we cook apple butter on the woodstove. Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride around the farm. >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

October 8 Sun/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

15th Annual Pumpkin Festival Fall family fun on the farm! Ongoing horse-drawn wagon rides to and from the pumpkin patch, live music all day, cider pressing, kids’ crafts and special entertainment, a “Good Food” concession featuring organic foods from our Farm Kitchen, and more! Rain or shine. >> Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, Pavillion Road off Rt. 5, East Thetford, Vt. >> Parking fee, activities free >> UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM




October 7 and 8 Sat/10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sat and Sun/10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mount Sunapee Fall Festival

Women of the Fort Various activities in various places within the museum including: defending home and family, women garrison the fort, natural (plant) dye display, putting food by, walking wool and more. >> The Fort at No. 4, 267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, N.H. >> Adults $10, seniors 55+ $8, age 13 to 17 $8, age 6 to 12 $6, 5 and under free >>

October 7 and 8

Sat and Sun/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

October 8 Harvest Sunday

Help the farm prepare for the winter months. Learn how to harvest root vegetables, the key to preserving and storing food long term, and join in a husking bee and barn dance, featuring live music. Delicious spiced cider and homemade doughnuts will be for sale. >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

October 6 to 8 Fri to Sun/All day

70th Annual Warner Fall Foliage Festival Since 1947, the people of Warner have come together at the height of autumn color to welcome old and new friends to their community. This tradition, with roots that reach back to the 1870s with Warner’s first street fair, has evolved to the present-day festival of crafts, parades, country bazaar, entertainment, oxen pull, woodsmen’s contest, farmers’ market and midway. >> Warner, N.H. >> Admission free; parking $5 >>


Enjoy the change of seasons with family, friends, and food! Skyrides will be running food will be available. The whole family can play old fashioned games; winners will get to spin the wheel for free Mount Sunapee lift tickets and other prizes. Activities include a pumpkin carving contest, face painting, hay rides, obstacle course and inflatable slide. >> Mount Sunapee, Route 103, Newbury, N.H. >> Free admission, $5 per pumpkin >>

Sun/1 to 4 p.m.

Harvest Weekend


October 7 to 9


The Village comes to life with hands-on harvest activities including cider making, corn shucking, butter churning, plus music, crafts and “olde tyme” kids’ games. >> New London Historical Society, 179 Little Sunapee Road, New London, NH >> Members free, nonmembers $3, children under 12 free >>

October 14 and 15 Sat and Sun/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Autumn Wagon Ride Weekend Admire the autumn display first-hand on narrated horse-drawn wagon rides around our fields. Interactive programs and activities will be offered, including programs with our Jersey cows and Southdown sheep. >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

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October 15 Sat/12 to 4 p.m.

October 29 Sun/10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cider Festival

A Family Halloween

Explore a variety of New England crafted artisanal ciders, both hard and natural, at this festival tasting event. Locally harvested apples and award winning artisan cheese will also be set-up for tasting and purchase. Children’s activities, a farmer’s market and music are all part of this fall afternoon event. >> Enfield Shaker Museum, 447 N.H. Route 4A, Enfield, N.H. >> Adults $12, ages 13 to 17 $8, ages 12 and under $5, families of three or more $20 >>

Pumpkin carving, doughnuts-on-a-string, wagon rides, cranking pumpkin ice cream, plus “not-tooscary” Halloween stories, pumpkin games and animal programs will be featured. Costume parades around the farm will be held at 12 and 2 p.m. Free admission for children in costume when accompanied by an adult (adults pay the regular admission fee). >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

October 17 Wed/10 a.m.

The Money Tree Shasta is devastated to learn that plans for her upcoming birthday party must be downsized. She and a friend meet a mysterious Traveler who gives her a seed to grow a money tree. In the end, they learn that friends and family are more valuable than lavish celebrations and the toys. This play introduces children to financial literacy and the difference between need and want while affirming the power of imagination. Recommended for grades 1 to 6. >> Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> $4 to $10 >>

October 18 Wed/5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

TLC Family Resource Center 25th Anniversary Celebration New York Times best-selling author Andre Dubus III returns to share his story of growing up in New England mill towns in the 1970s. >> The Common Man Restaurant, 21 Water Street, Claremont, N.H. >> $50 per person >>

November 3 Fri/6 to 9 p.m.

Vermont Geography Bee Youth in grades 5 to 8 and adult three-member teams answer questions relating to the geography of Vermont and New Hampshire. This year’s theme is "Vermont Critters." Great prizes, friendly competition and refreshments. >> Thetford Historical Society, 16 Library Road, Thetford, Vt. >> Free >>

November 4 to 12 Daily/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christmas at The Fells Tour The Fells Main House and get inspired! Professional interior designers, floral artists, decorators and talented volunteers sprinkle their magic throughout to create a one-of-a-kind Christmas showcase. >> The Fells, 456 Route 103A, Newbury, N.H. >> Adults $18 (through Oct. 29); after Oct. 29 adults $23, children $5 >>





November 11

November 14

Sat/10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tuesday/10 a.m.

Craft for All Ages: Wreath Making and Decorating Learn tricks and tips from talented Fells Nursery Manager, Sue Ellen Weed-Parkes, who will teach you to create your own wreaths from natural materials. Make beautiful bows and decorate your wreath to take home for the holidays. Register by Nov. 8. >> The Gatehouse Classroom, The Fells, 456 Route 103A, Newbury, N.H. >> Members $25, nonmembers $35, includes materials and supplies. Children under 12 free with an adult. >>

Chicken Dance A bully in the barnyard? Yup, and two plucky chickens — Marge and Lola — will not stand idly by. Join the dynamic duo’s musical adventure as they compete in the barnyard talent show in hopes of winning tickets to see the great Elvis Poultry in concert! Recommended for kindergarten to grade 2. >> Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> $4 to $10 >>

November 11 to December 23

Daily/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gallery of Gifts The art and craft of 100+ juried makers from the region presented in the gallery for handmade holiday shopping. >> Library Arts Center, 58 North Main Street, Newport, N.H. >> Free admission >>

November 23 Thu/8 a.m.

11th Annual Turkey Trot 5K Grab your family and friends, throw on a costume (optional, but highly encouraged), work off some calories, and make this great event a part of your Thanksgiving tradition. Kids are invited to run a 1K Chicken Run down Lake Avenue and every participant receives a medal. All proceeds go to the Sunapee Recreation Department. >> Sunapee Harbor, Sunapee, N.H. >> $20 registration by Nov. 7 >> The fall calendar is sponsored by




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Discover Nature's Hidden Secrets Founded by a 13-year-old more than 60 years ago, The Little Nature Museum continues to enchant children and grownups alike. TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BARBARA MILLS LASSONDE Have you ever wondered how owls sneak up on their prey? Do you know that a type of sea shell called cowrie was once used as money? Have you ever seen minerals glow vibrant colors under a black light? If you enjoy learning about nature and want your kids or grandkids to appreciate it, a visit to The Little Nature Museum in Warner, N.H., is the perfect place to start. Inside, displays of many animals catch the eye: bobcat, bear, owls, song birds, water fowl, small carnivores and rodents. Learn about each of these and test your knowledge of bears. Meander down one

aisle and learn about sea shells and cowries, galls and cones, sand and rocks. Enjoy the fluorescent mineral display that is sure to leave the kids in awe. Place your hand into a dinosaur footprint, feel the fur of a mink, raccoon or skunk and try to identify the songs of various birds. In another area, feel the differences between types of tree bark and learn how a cactus survives in the desert. Check out the insects, butterflies and other pollinators. How many can you name? See how much you know about bats, animal tracks and the variations of poison ivy. Learn what lichen tells us about the health of the environment and see the damage caused by invasive plants and insects. For

Sandra Martin founded the museum when she was just 13.




WEB every four activities kids try, they go home with a nature prize. Outside the museum, the pollinator garden buzzes with activity as worker bees and colorful butterflies flit from blossom to blossom collecting the sweet nectar. Take a stroll along the Medicine Woods nature trail where you see native plants, animals and animal signs. Young children enjoy the activities in the Woods Wonders Nature Pack made especially for parents to use in this outdoor classroom. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds. More than 60 years ago, Sandra Martin founded The Little Nature Museum when she was just 13. Its first location was in her parents’ Massachusetts home, where she began teaching after-school and summer science classes for younger children. “My mother took me as a child to multiple museums of all kinds in the Boston area, and I was a student at the Museum of Science when I just completed the sixth grade.” Martin loved that museum and says, “The educators there were wonderful, animated and funny. Learning about nature and science was infectious.”

More than 60 years ago, Sandra Martin founded The Little Nature Museum when she was just 13. Its first location was in her parents’ Massachusetts home, where she began teaching after-school and summer science classes for younger children.

As she grew, so did her collection of artifacts, her love of nature and teaching. Today, The Little Nature Museum is no longer little. This hands-on interactive family museum has scores of displays, hundreds of artifacts and many activities to hold the interest of kids of all ages. Martin and her dedicated volunteers staff the museum every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from late May through October. “Our mission is to develop awareness and appreciation of the natural world and the environment

through our hands-on collections, trails and educational programs,” says Martin, who still serves as the museum’s president. Located just off Kearsarge Mountain Road, The Little Nature Museum shares a campus with the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum. On Sunday, Sept. 24, the museums team up for the annual Harvest Moon and Naturefest. The event celebrates the harvest of crops and demonstrates how the Native Americans lived harmoniously with nature. There will be live animal demonstrations and hands-on

activities for kids, as well as Native American food, music, storytelling and craft demonstrations. “Harvest Moon and Naturefest is an opportunity for the whole family to visit both museums, learn about nature, have children do activities sponsored by both museums and learn about Native Americans. It’s a fun family day,” Martin says. Barbara Mills Lassonde is a freelance writer and master gardener who lives in Warner, N.H. She volunteers at The Little Nature Museum as a tour guide, maintains the pollinator garden, and serves on the board of directors.





Pep Talks for the Would-Be Should-Be Artist Local author writes (and draws) a great book for folks starting out with art, needing to get back into art, or just looking for a bit of encouragement to keep at it. BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB If you see a lady sitting on the side of the road or the edge of a crowd with a notebook and pencil in hand, don’t be alarmed. She’s an artist, making a quick sketch of a scene that might later turn into a piece of artwork, a note card or a page in a book. If you’re in the New London, N.H., area, it’s possible that this lady might be Sue Anne Bottomley, author of Colorful Journey: An Artist’s Adventure Drawing Every Town in New Hampshire. Bottomley visited all 234 New Hampshire towns, sketched each one, and published a book of her drawings. Now she has a second book available: Pep Talks for the Would-Be Should-Be Artist. It’s a great book to motivate those just wanting to get started in art, or those who were once there and really want to get back. It doesn’t tell you how to draw — only what wonderful things happen when you do. “The book was born of many conversations I have had, often with buyers of the first book or with those who caught me in the act of sketching, in which people told me how they had once enjoyed making art but just couldn’t get started back into it. They didn’t have the time, they didn’t have the right material, 34


they set standards they felt to be unachievable, and they faced many other impediments,” says Bottomley. “It was for them that I wrote the book.” And the advice, although sometimes simple, is sincerely helpful. Like: “If you forget your sketchpad, draw anyway.” Bottomley uses


a sketchbook for most of her drawings, but has used a paper bag and a white envelope for some of her sketches — and she shows you the results. In fact, each pep talk is accompanied by a drawing or two. Young artists should read all the tips, but, throughout the book, there are blue letters and a star

symbol with new tips just for them. Bottomley talks about overcoming your fears, using a sketchbook as a visual diary, and the importance of practicing your skills. You can draw from direct observation, from memory, or from your imagination. “Drawing is a form of looking carefully, seeing with new eyes, and recording your discoveries,” Bottomley writes in Pep Talk #14. “If you learn to enjoy the process, the end product will take of itself. Go for quantity. Your work will improve with practice.” Pep Talks for the Would-Be Should-Be Artist is available at Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London, N.H., and MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, N.H. Laura Jean Whitcomb draws monsters. Cartoon-y, funny monsters and weird ducks and colorful dinosaurs. She’s not sure why but she loves it. She lives in Grantham, N.H.

WIN THIS BOOK Want to win Sue Anne Bottomley’s book and a kit (Pigma Micron pens, Laura Jean’s favor-


ite gelly roll pens and a Strathmore sketchbook) to get you started? Send a drawing, scribble, work of art to Kid Stuff magazine,

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PO Box 500, Grantham, NH 03753. Include your name, age (any age!) and mailing address. One winner will be chosen at the end of 2017, and your art could end up on the pages of Kid Stuff magazine in 2018!

Where Learning and Thinking Come Alive!

Quechee, Vermont

Pre-K through Grade 8 After School Programs until 5pm To learn more please call 802-296-2496 UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM




Trauma-informed Support for Families Being brave and facing the difficult topics will nurture healthier children and more resilient communities. BY MELONY WILLIAMS, CMHC

Parents, educators, medical professionals and all who care for children are hearing more and more about trauma-informed support for children. What does “trauma informed” mean? The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (nctsn. org) defines trauma informed systems as those in which “all parties recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on those who have contact with the system including children, caregivers and service providers.” It is important to assess and understand what causes traumatic stress and to help those affected by it, including the child and his family. Professionals who help families deal with trauma are affected, too, and also need support, since they are sometimes so focused on the task at hand that they forget to look at the meaning behind behaviors.

EMPATHY IS KEY Anyone who works with children must come from a place of empathy and with the understanding that they may be struggling with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). One way is to work under the assumption that behavior is 36


based on what the child is experiencing at home or school. It is the adults’ responsibility to notice what children are communicating and to figure out the meaning behind the behavior. If we find the roots of their struggles, we will be able to provide support. Dr. Cassie Yackley, a N.H. psychologist who trains clinicians in child parent psychotherapy as well as community agencies and schools in trauma informed practices, shares a story from when she was a school counselor. She was working with a child who was having a difficult time at home and, not surprisingly, struggled in class as well. When Yackley spoke to one of


It is the adults’ responsibility to notice what children are communicating and to figure out the meaning behind the behavior. If we find the roots of their struggles, we will be able to provide support.

WEB the student’s teachers about a class she was failing, the teacher said she had no idea the student was dealing with ACE issues and, had she known, she would have been more understanding.

MORE ACES = HIGHER RISK According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first study of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was conducted from 1995 to 1997. The survey asked questions about childhood experiences, including specific questions about exposure to abuse, neglect and violence between parents. The study found that ACEs are common, with two thirds of participants reporting one ACE and 1 in 5 participants reporting three or more ACEs. The study found that as a person’s ACE score increased so did his risk for a variety of health problems including heart disease, substance abuse and depression.

LOVE BRINGS CHANGE So what can we do? We can learn about ACEs and work to prevent them in our own homes. Mother Teresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Simple, but true and powerful. We can also help children who experience an ACE or a trauma. We can step in and be a buffer and connect them to a professional who is trained in an evidence based practice that helps children heal from trauma. On October 18, author Andre Dubus III will speak at the 25th anniversary celebration of TLC Family Resource Center. As a child, Dubus endured many challenges and traumas. What helped him was an adult who believed in him and believed he could do better. If we know what experiences have a negative impact on our kids and can prevent them, let’s do that. If prevention is impossible, let’s make sure that we are there after the experience to offer empathy, hope, and the knowledge of professionals. Melony Williams, CMHC, is a clinical supervisor at TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont, N.H. TLC Family Resource Center has been working to strengthen families in Sullivan and Lower Grafton Counties for 25 years. Learn more about the agency at

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Born to run 5K Cornish, NH October 7, 2017 Includes a Free Pumpkin Patch Dash for kids! 25th AnniversAry Dinner CeleBrAtion October 18, 6pm The Common Man in Claremont Featuring New York Times best-seller Andre Dubus iii Author of Townie and House of Sand and Fog

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FunFest 2017

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Be sure to join us on Saturday, Sept. 9. We've got a fun day planned: · See raptors with VINS! · Magician Andrew Pinard! · Storyteller Simon Brooks! · Pony rides, yoga, photo booth, raffles and more! Special thanks to our sponsors: · Purple Crayon Productions · ClearChoice MD · Whaleback · Skyline Designs!

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Family FunFest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Whaleback Mountain, Enfield, N.H. FREE with food pantry donation!

Kid Stuff fall 2017 issue  

Sign language, improv, day trips (both north and south), The Little Nature Museum in Warner, and more back-to-school educational articles fo...