Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at email@example.com.
First of all, I'd like to say thank you for reading my blog and for the feedback. I really appreciate having this excuse to get out and be more involved in the community I love. This is good writing practice, you give me that opportunity, and I thank you.
You've just been palanca'd!
I spent the weekend with dozens of seventeen year old confirmation candidates and other group leaders at a beautiful camp a couple miles from Monches. Camp Whitcomb/Mason is a huge Boys and Girls Club camp on Lake Keesus and is nearly 100 years old. Fortunately, I'm becoming more and more familiar with the camp -- I've been there several times with school -- fortunate because it has so much to offer and because of it's serene location. I love it.
One of the first things we did at camp was to create a palanca bag, or planka bag as they pronounced it. We had earlier picked adjectives for our names to use in an icebreaking memory game. The game grew increasingly more difficult as it progressed around the circle and I was glad I was just the third one. Toward the end of the circle the kids had to remember 30 or so difficult names and adjectives such as Loud Linda, Lethargic Leo, Touchable Tom, Witty Wes, etc. Because camp is located just a few paces from where I did so much hot air balloon crewing this summer, I chose b'loony Brien for my adjective.
Everyone decorated a paper bag with their adjectives, names, interests and whatever else identifies and defines them. Some of the bags were true works of art, many were cute or funny. Sports and religion were on quite a few. Many bags accurately reflected the adjective and many adjectives acurately reflected the people. Once the bags were made, hundreds of paper slips were provided for us to use in little messages. We were encouraged to say nice things in notes and place them in the bags.
Got Palanca? The concept was new to me but I caught on soon enough. I learned that the more I showed appreciation for others the more I myself appreciated. Telling others how helpful or kind they are is addictive and it didn't take me long to start palanca'ing strangers. Because we spent the whole weekend together there weren't too many strangers left by Sunday.
Where the best part of the palanca bags may have been reading the notes we received, the best part of the weekend for the kids had to have been the love letters the parents and family secretly sent them. Whether one letter or many, the result was the same: kids, some in tears, learned how much they were really loved, appreciated and supported.