Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Tuesday in the Adirondacks

bobcat-close2-745x396After all the madness of retail bargains, it is now the time to focus on Giving Tuesday. I know the weekend rush of named sale events like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are catchy and cute, but Giving Tuesday is truly a great way to shift from a weekend focusing on all the items we feel we have to have to a day about others.

My children are in charge of taking care of our recycling throughout the year. In doing so, they also get to keep the money earned from turning in any redeemable bottles and cans. That money earned does come with strings attached. They need to donate their earnings to the charity of their choice.  My children are too young to have a steady income, but my husband and I have always felt one is never too young to learn how to give.

Though Giving Tuesday is meant to bring donations to charitable organizations, I do not believe it needs to be just about dollars spent. Don’t get me wrong. I support many non-profits as well as local Adirondack organizations that foster my own goal of getting families outside in nature and into the arts. These organizations need our help to continue to provide those much needed and appreciated services. The Adirondack Foundation’s new Adirondack Gives site is a nice way to help nonprofits meet goals, like game cameras for the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Money doesn’t have to be the only way we educate our children about giving. My children are able to do both. Having my young children help with the recycling is a tangible way to tie giving to doing something nice for someone else. For years now they continue to diligently collect each bottle and can, knowing at the end of the year the funds will assist those less fortunate.  In the past they’ve sponsored everything from the local Humane Society to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Since giving doesn’t just have to be about money, they also help shovel snow from their neighbor’s driveway, go through their own toys to donate at local drop-boxes and walk dogs at the animal shelter. There are certainly numerous other ways to involve children in the giving aspect of Christmas instead just the getting.

Just think, the next time your children go to the Wild Center or the Old Forge VIEW, they can have an even richer experience knowing their hard-earned gift made things a little bit better. However you and your family choose to celebrate, it is always nice to look for new ideas to make sure to take the greed out of the getting.

Bobcat photo from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy used with the permission of the Adirondack Foundation 

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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