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GUEST COMMENTARY: ‘Follow the Leader’ to Teddy Bear Picnic 2015

September 17, 2015
By BARBARA KELLY , Lake Placid News

Do you remember the children's game called "Follow the Leader" or by another name "Simon Says"? The Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid has chosen "Follow the Leader" as the theme for this year's Teddy Bear Picnic, which will be held on Sunday, Sept. 20 at the Kiwanis Village Park on Hillcrest Avenue.

Registration for children 7 years old and younger will begin at 11a.m. near the Hillcrest entrance to the park. At 11:15 a.m., the Bear Store and other events should be open.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 11:45 a.m. with Kelly Conway, Kiwanis president, welcoming everyone to the event. Jim Rogers, the official announcer, will take over the microphone and help get the crowd in place for the flag ceremony by the Boy Scouts. The parade, escorted by the Lake Placid Police Department, will begin moving at around noon.

Prizes will be awarded for the best bear-related costumes and best decorated wagons, strollers, backpacks, tricycles or wheelchairs. Other than official vehicles, no motorized transportation will be allowed except for scooters used by seniors or the disabled. Winners will be announced at the gathering place immediately after the parade returns to the park. The grand marshal for Teddy Bear Picnic is a secret that will be announced at the opening ceremonies.


Thanking good leadership

Do you have a leader whom you feel is special and would like to recognize? Here is your chance to thank them by publicly stating your support in the parade at the Teddy Bear Picnic. The person or persons (adult or young person) presenting a leader need to make a large sign with the leader's name declaring their groups support. The sign should be able to be carried by one or two group members in the parade. The presentations will be judged and prizes awarded. This opportunity is to recognize leadership in our community and to say "thank you" to them for what they do to make our community a better place.


Bear Bucks

At registration in order to teach young children the value of money, each young child receives a packet of "bear bucks" to spend at the Bear Store for toys, games, books or stuffed animals. This year, four Girl Scouts will assist as clerks at the Bear Store. As they register, each child will also be assigned a number to be put in the lottery jug. Just before the police car starts to move the parade forward, the winning number will be drawn for a child to become the junior grand marshal. This child may ride with a parent or guardian in a special parade vehicle.

It is rumored that favorite bears such as the Forest Service's Smokey Bear will appear at the Teddy Bear Picnic. We know for sure that Karen Courtland Kelly's "Zachary Bear" is coming and that he may agree to lead a big circle "Follow the Leader" game for the youngest children.

The popular saxophone group under the direction of Dean Dietrich will entertain before the parade and provide accompaniment for the patriotic songs and the Teddy Bear Picnic song.

Kiwanis member Carol Prevost will again bring some young students of Mountain Lake Academy to cook and serve the refreshments which will be hot dogs, rolls and drinks and after the parade ice cream

Local and regional organizations for young people such as the girl and boy scouts, Skating Club of Lake Placid, the Youth Hockey Organization and the ski and luge clubs may set up a small booth along the fence area that abuts Hillcrest Avenue where they can let the public know what their group offers. They will need to provide their own tables and chairs or opening cover.


Kiwanis mission

The Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid, founded in 1926, is the oldest service organization in Lake Placid. The Kiwanis International, to which we belong and support, has as its focus "The Children of the World." Our local club primarily serves the children and young adults in our region. We currently support boy and girl scouts, Key Clubs in Lake Placid and Keene, Builders Clubs in the Lake Placid Middle School, scholarships for graduating seniors, dictionaries for the Lake Placid Elementary School and special requests from young people in our area.

The Teddy Bear Picnic is not a fundraiser. The Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid is a community service organization, and no fee is charged for the event or the food at the Teddy Bear Picnic. Come and see for yourself what we offer to the children.

(Barbara Kelly is the event chairperson for the 2015 Teddy Bear Picnic.)



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