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TGMS Family Fun Day!!

TGMS Family Fun Day - Saturday, September 30, 2017

By Pat McClain

At a TGMS Board meeting recently, the subject came up about community outreach programs.  After tossing around several ideas, I came up with the suggestion of having a "Family Fun Day!"  This would give us the opportunity to showcase to the Tucson community what the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society is all about, utilize all the wonderful talent that we have in our membership and maybe, just maybe we could actually get families to come to our facility and learn something about the earth sciences, all while having fun.  I said to the Board that we could pull this off but only with their help ... well they really did!

After we had some TGMS members on board for the project, we had two or three meetings where we pulled all of our ideas together and we came up with a game plan.  We decided to have a cave crawl, rock identification, mineral identification, microminerals and micromounts, mineral uses, rock dig, metal detecting, meteorites & meteor-wrongs, fossils & evolution, fluorescent minerals, gold panning and a rock crusher.

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Everyone who volunteered to work on this project really came through in flying colors; they worked really hard on the areas that they had signed up to man.  Ron Gibbs really deserves a special "thank you" because he is the one that brought our idea of "spin the wheel and win a prize" to fruition.  He found a bike wheel, made the stand, painted all of the red and green dots and made sure that it was in balance so that everyone would have a fair chance to win a prize.

A BIG "thank you" to Linda Oliver for donating time, talent and material in helping us to put together our fluorescent tent. We had one little boy that was so fascinated with the fluorescent minerals, his mom had a very hard time getting him to go look at anything else.  And "thank you" to Kent of Kent's Tools for donating all of the gold pans that we gave away.  It made a lot of kids happy!  A special "thank you" to Gene & Jackie Schlepp, who donated a wonderful group of mineral specimens.  When it came to spinning the wheel and if it landed on a "gold TGMS logo," the kids got to choose from these very special prizes. You should have seen their faces when that happened!

We advertised in as many FREE online event calendars that we could, in hopes that we were getting the word out to everyone.  Sometime before the doors opened on that Saturday, there were a few volunteers who were wondering if they were just going to be staring at each other for most of the day.  We all let out a hoot when the first parent and child walked through the door right at 10:00 a.m. and the most wonderful thing happened ... they kept coming ... all day long!  In a five-hour period we had close to 200 people walk through our doors.  And the best part was that most of them were children! 

Our volunteers were - Marilyn Reynolds and Victoria Fila manning the door, giving out mineral passport cards and raffle tickets. Mary Kirpes not only made the paper mache cave (with other volunteers), she was directing traffic all day; Ortrud Schuh manning the rock identification; Bill Shelton and Jennifer Isbell doing the mineral identification; Ron Gibbs, Brad Gibbs, Mark Ascher and Tim McClain focused on micro minerals; Mark Marikos explained the mineral uses; Diane Braswell kept the kids busy by helping them dig in the sand for all sorts of fun things; Roy Parson was in the dark all day long, he did the fluorescent mineral display, and helping him was Beverly Lynch who made sure that all the kids had their cards stamped (she was also very adept at directing the folks to our outside stations). Mark Candee handled the meteorite right and meteor-wrong table; Christina Marikos, Kalen Krause and Wyatt Ingalls did a great job with the fossils; Louis Pill and Bob Melzer had fun showing kids what you could do with a metal detector; Kerry Towe was out in the sun all day (even with the tent) explaining the fine art of gold panning; Myles Ingalls got to make some noise with his rock crusher; Jerry and Mary Glazman where in charge of "Spin The Wheel and Win A Prize"; Bob and Jeannette Barnes handled the sale of the snacks; Mike Hollonbeck and Harry Lutzow were our "grand gophers" for the day; Rose Marques and I did our best to make sure that the "details" were taken care of before, during and after.  

I think it is safe to say ... "It was a success" ... and I am pretty sure that we will do it again.  It truly was a "fun day!"

Comments we received on Facebook:

Lauren Rae Layton Ard - We had a LOT of fun at this event!  Heard about it from Arizona Families and we are so glad we came!  My Kids are really, REALLY excited about their new rock collections and are even decorating special boxes to keep the rocks in, etc.

Larissa Kaliszewski - We had a great time, you guys put together an enjoyable event!  Thank you!