How It All Started I started an e-group for Chicago-area parenting Pagans to try to get a social/play group together for my son to meet other kids learning the Ways. Without a whole lot of plugging, I managed to get a few members to join. I admit I was always terrible about "plugging", so it was kinda stale for a while. Then, I got an email from a new member who really nudged me into getting it off the cyber mill and onto the public. The proposal below is what I sent out... and here we are!
Friday, November 10th, 2000
Now this is something I've been thinking about for quite a long time: while there are a growing number of social groups, covens and gatherings for Pagans throughout the Chicagoloand area, there really is no outlet specifically geared towards Pagan parents and their children. Since I have spent a summer at a cub scout camp working various areas, it's been an idea of mine for quite a few years to set up a group for Pagan children and their parents. I have worked in the nature study and crafts, archery, BB guns as well as tending to the kitchen.
A while back, I started an egroup for Chicago-area Pagan parents. Currently, there are 9 members. Outside of leaving the URL in my email signature, I really don't plug it, because I would hate for people to think that I am spamming them to death. I started it to not only form a little cyber social group, but more importantly, to try to get perhaps a real-life play/social group for the kids. The idea is not original; GO Kids was my inspiration.
I was thinking on the lines of how the Scouts hold their little meetings Den Mother style - perhaps a craft project for the upcoming holidays (religious and secular to hold interest), "Movie Night" with Pagan-friendly cartoons with popcorn and the like (that movie "Ferngully: the Last Rainforest" is a thought), and possibly a field trip day to places like the zoo, nature center (off Pulaski by Bryn Mawr I believe), and things like that, and maybe even other things like picnics, trail walks and scavenger hunts.
Some of these plans would really need your help: transportation, snacks, and maybe a little money for entrance fees for trips (though for small groups, I have a flair for obtaining free passes hehe). Of course, the biggest help would be in mentoring, as well as just keeping an eye on the little ones. Mentors can be as simple as teens working with younger kids on craft projects, and adults to be positive role models for the teens. This group could also serve the community at large by offering child care during gatherings and such.
If this sounds like something you would also be interested in, email me off-list (so we don't bog down people's mailboxes) at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas, suggestions and anything you feel you could offer the group (knowledge, supplies, TIME, ect.) If I get enough initial interest, I will then start putting up flyers in area shops and such. It's my notion that Pagan children should have a group to call their own, and the moms and dads should be able to foster their beliefs collectively as a community.
Finally, the one thing that would have to be dealt with is liability. I know that when my son entered scouts, I had to sign a consent form which dissolved any liability to the scouts should an accident occur. I of course also filled out an emergency form in the event it was required. Additionally, every field trip they attend I have to fill out permission slip, just like with school. Would anyone with legal sense be willing to write up such forms?