During World War II one of the nicknames for the United States military was "citizen soldiers", a nod to the fact that the vast majority of our military were not professional fighters but just regular Joes (and Janes) who halted the lives they had planned to join the fight when our nation was attacked on December 7, 1941. Sixty years later, when 9/11 brought terror to our shores once again people who had never considered the military once again heard the call to defend their country and become citizen soldiers.
For many, the first date that called people to become citizen soldiers often goes unnoticed. If you want to take some time to remember the sacrifices made then and now, join the veterans at a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Program on Saturday, December 7 at the Veterans Memorial, Centre & Catawissa Streets, Mahanoy City at 11 am.
Veterans are also invited to breakfast at Lewie's Restaurant, Lehigh Avenue, Frackville on Friday, December 6 at 7 am.
Want another way to remember the sacrifices of our military? Why not send a Christmas card to a military man or woman with local ties who won't be in Schuylkill County for the holidays. Check out this post about how to send a card or package full of Schuylkill County love here
There are only a few hikes planned in December for the bravest of hikers! I think Dollar General is having a sale on those marvelous hand warmers you slip inside your gloves! If walking and hiking is your main "get moving" activity, don't give up on it just because the weather has turned cold. Our mall is a great spot to get some steps in while staying toasty warm or you could plan your own hike on a local walking trail.
Pre-Tree Lighting Trek
Sunday, December 1 at 4 pm
Meet at 414 East Hancock Street, St. Clair for some hot chocolate and a quick jaunt around town to enjoy the lights, ending at the tree lighting.
Broad Mountain Bench Trail
Sunday, Dec. 8 from 9 am to 2 pm
Meet at Cloverleaf Fire Company, Heckschersville for this 10.5 mile hike rated easy. Led by Hiker Jim this hike will include the Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven Bed and Reservoir. Get a look at the recent clear cut project.
Annual Christmas Walk
Saturday, December 14 at 6 pm
Meet at the St. Clair Historical Society to stroll around town, relax and enjoy the lights and holiday decorations.
Once again, pop back to the original Holiday Happenings post to see what's up this weekend. The latest additions are marked with a purple NEW!
Not everyone enjoys the holidays. Perhaps they are lonely, depressed, recently lost a loved one, or just aren't at a great place in their life. All the pressure to be merry can get to anyone. Several organizations are offering people to come together and enjoy community without the frantic need to be "holly and jolly".
Sunday, December 1
When Christmas Hurts
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 35 N. Ninth Street, Ashland at 3 pm
A service of remembrance and healing for all.
Sunday, December 8
Blue Christmas Service
Trinity Lutheran Church, Arch Street, Pottsville at 6:30 pm
Join us for comfort when you're dealing with death, sickness, divorce or other loss.
Have you dug out The Polar Express for your annual family viewing? Started planning your model train layout? If you or a family member is a train enthusiast consider taking a ride on the local Santa Trains for the holidays. On the 70-80 minute ride there will be holiday music, a visit from Santa and a candy treat. Please arrive early.
Tickets will be available on the day of the ride however the tickets go FAST so think about purchasing an advance ticket. You can purchase tickets by calling 610-562-2102 or 570-544-8300. Tickets can also be purchased at the Minersville Borough office building Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Tickets are $15 per adult, $9 for ages 3 to 12 and FREE for those 2 and under (but they need to be issued a FREE ticket).
Trains depart at 10:30 am, 1 pm and 3:30 pm from the following stations:
Minersville Station on November 30 and December 1 (Please take note that parking is at Schuylkill IU 29 and a free shuttle will bring you to the station. See map)
Schuylkill Haven Station on December 7 and 8
Tunkhannock Station on December 14 and 15
Pottsville Union Station on December 21 and 22
You can find some unique gifts for the rail buff at Minersville's Project 113 store here.
More updates to Holiday Happenings for the upcoming weeks. Check out the post with some new events added here.
Walking through downtown Pottsville, it's always fun to see the yellow "Also Known As" signs pinpointing various buildings, businesses and streets that are found in the works of John O"Hara under another name. Seems John is celebrating his 115th birthday in 2020 and so is the County! I'll keep you updated on further events but for now I have to give you a heads up on one special event: the John O'Hara Creativity Contest.
There are contests for three age groups but for some you might need to brush up on the works of O'Hara before the deadline: December 14. All entries are due at the Pottsville Library on that day.
John O'Hara wrote about his community. Design a bookmark that highlights something in your community.
Pulling a John O'Hara
John O'Hara wrote about his community - Schuylkill County - but he changed them names. He only changed them a little bit, keeping enough that insiders (people from Schuylkill County) could figure out which places he was writing about. For instance, Pottsville became Gibbsville and Schuylkill Haven became Swedish Haven. Write a short story (up to 1000 words) about your community using the same technique of name changing.
Ages 15 and up
John O'Hara Fan Fiction
Write a one shot short story (up to 2000 words) based on a John O'Hara work. It could be a prequel, sequel, alternate universe, what if this character had done that....anything based on a work or character by John O'Hara.
I've been a busy gal updating the Holiday Happenings for the upcoming weeks. Check out the post with some new events added here
We all know stress! Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. Some allows us to grow, learn, adapt, and change for the better; things like hunger, thirst, curiosity, even pain are stresses that encourage us to grow.
So, what happens when we can’t adapt and grow with the stress of our life? Sometimes distress overwhelms our ability to respond. Sometimes hunger, thirst, curiosity, and pain can slow us down and make living difficult, which may require that we ask for help from friends, family or even strangers. Sometimes this distress lasts longer than we can handle, or is so overwhelming that we try to escape or numb ourselves- that’s toxic stress. That’s the type of stress that causes risky behaviors, health issues and makes life difficult.
Did you know that your early life experiences set us up for how much stress we can tolerate? Early bonding to parents and those who care for us, and later to extended family, friends, school and community build resilience and allow us to ‘surf the wave’ rather than being ‘pulled under the rip current’ of distress and toxic stress. Our brains and bodies grow differently when they are safe and nurtured, which gives us the ‘muscle’ to stay on top of ‘the wave’.
“Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACEs are categories of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction that make a child’s home unsafe and unpredictable. The following video, by a leading expert in ACEs, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, describes the surprising effects of early adversity and the health outcomes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk . Unsafe schools, neighborhoods and communities can also be sources of stress for those who live there.
There are ways build personal, family and community strength to balance the negative effects of stress that we all face. In the end that strength comes from connection- living and growing in trusted, nurturing families, and being connected to safe schools, neighborhoods and communities. We can handle distress and toxic stress when we have someone we trust to turn to for love and support. Humans are meant to be connected; relationships help us feel safe enough to be curious, learn, explore, and trust the world and others.
The Schuylkill Resiliency Project’s Families Grow Together is an opportunity for any family to strengthen their bonds, build their ability to surf the stress that life throws at us. Located at the Pottsville YMCA, Families Grow Together, meets on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:00 to explore healthy relationships. On Saturday mornings (10 – 12) the families gather to do fun, family activities such as drumming circles, art projects, and yoga all designed for parents and kids to share time together. This program is FREE, runs in 6-week blocks, and is open to any family in Schuylkill County. It is FREE because of the generosity of PA Taxpayers through a grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Thank you.
Please contact Tracy at 570-728-3476 or email@example.com for more information and to register for the next group. Remember, Relationships = Resilience
In our country,a high school diploma seems a given. Everyone has one, right? But not everyone does - due to circumstances, tragedies or just poor choices. Not having a high school diploma can severely restrict a person's options and ability to create a successful life. Most jobs, colleges and trade schools and the military require a diploma or High School Equivalency. If you know someone who wants to take their High School Equivalency Exam (GED or HISET) they can take a FREE prep class in Pottsville, Mahanoy City or Tamaqua. To learn more about the classes call the Lifelong Learning Center at 570-628-5761.