Pack 21 Sleeps With the Fishes
submitted by David Wilder
Did you know that jellyfish have no hearts or brains? Did you know that there is a “cleaning station” in the ocean where prey and predators call a truce? Have you ever met Myrtle the Turtle, who is 75 years old and weighs over 650 pounds? Well if you are one of the lucky boys in Cub Scout Pack 21 of Hudson, you did! The boys had the opportunity to go on an exciting sleepover at the New England Aquarium in Boston this past weekend and they had a blast!
The afternoon began with a trip over to Faneuil Hall for a delicious lunch. Then, it was over to the aquarium for an awesome night of fun including dissecting a squid, playing games, going on a jellyfish scavenger hunt and making designer pillowcases. After that, it was snacktime and camping out inside the aquarium. It was well past midnight by the time the last excited boy got to sleep!
The next morning, after a tasty breakfast, the aquarium was all theirs to explore before it opened to the public. Capping the weekend off was a very cool 3D movie about deep sea creatures in the Aquarium’s IMAX Theater.
If you want your boys to be involved in a great organization that has fun and also teaches boys valuable skills like discipline, independence and citizenship, then contact the Cub Master, Jon Smith at 889-1890 for more information!
VFW Breakfast Funds Calling Cards
by Lynne Ober
Veterans of America’s armed services never forget those who are currently serving. Hudson’s VFW Post hosted a pancake breakfast last Saturday in order to fund calling cards for armed service members who are serving overseas.
“We just wanted to do something nice for armed forces members who are overseas,” said VFW Auxiliary President, Brenda Gora. “Being overseas and away from family is difficult. If you are the family member left behind in the states, it is difficult. This way servicemen and women will be able to call home and hear a friendly voice.”
Approximately 200 people attended the delicious breakfast. Scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee filled everyone up. “We want it to be eat as much as you want,” smiled Gora.
Hudson firefighters came to breakfast and brought two fire trucks, much to the delight of the children. “I love the fire truck,” Jason said happily. “It’s a good thing the fire truck came after he finished his breakfast,” murmured his mom.
The VFW raised $675 toward calling cards. There will be some happy service members as well as delighted families who will get phone calls.
“We plan to do this again on February 24 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The cost will be $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors and $3.00 for children 12 and under,” said Gora.
Set Building for Noises Off at Campbell High School
by Lynne Ober
Noises Off is an innovative and hysterical comedy, written by Michael Frayn. The playwright contends that the idea for his play started in 1970, when he was standing in the wings watching a performance of a farce, entitled Chinamen, which he had written for Lynn Redgrave.
This play will be performed at Campbell High School. Last Saturday, approximately two dozen people gathered to help construct the backstage set for the play. According to Kathleen Riley, “The set is about 85 percent done. We have a stairs unit left to do this week and lots of painting.”
Riley said the builders were a conglomeration of “teachers, parents, former and present students, and friends of mine and my husband.” She provided lunch for them from a deli in Amherst.
When the play opens, the Campbell community will get a glimpse into Frayn’s view of behind the scenes. Frayn thought the antics were funnier from behind the scene than in front. Noises Off is actually a theatrical term for sound heard in the wings, and he thought it was an appropriate title for his comedy, which opened to rave reviews. Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations in each version as off-stage chaos affects on-stage performance, with a great deal of slapstick.
Using the concept of a play within a play, Frayn gives his audience one laugh after another. The play that is supposedly being shown on stage is a purposely dreadful sex comedy entitled Nothing On and has been characterized as “the type of play in which young girls run about in their underwear, old men drop their trousers, and many doors continually open and shut.”
In Noises Off, Act One focuses on the dress rehearsal. The cast is still fumbling with entrances and exits, bobbled cues, misspoken lines, and vexing props (notably, a plate of sardines).
Act Two portrays opening night seen from backstage, at the fictional Grand Theatre in Weston-super-Mare. This view provides a glimpse into the deteriorating personal relationships among the cast, which lead to offstage shenanigans and onstage bedlam.
In Act Three, the audience sees a performance well into the run and by now everyone is bored and keen to be done with the play. Actors attempt to cover a series of mishaps by making up the play as they go along.
Be sure to watch for the play and mark your calendar to attend.
Invaluable Community Service Concurrently Supports School
by Maureen Gillum
The Adult Day Service Program (ADSP) has quietly enriched the lives of its elderly and adult members for more than 10 years at Alvirne High School’s Voc-Tech Center. “This is a very special program that greatly benefits our participants, their families and the wonderful Alvirne students and staff,” enthusiastically shared ADSP Director, Mary Beth Smaha, “People often tell us they wished they’d known about us sooner.” Despite an increased need for such community programs and ADSP’s high marks, the program, surprisingly, still has some openings and remains unknown by many.
Smaha detailed, “We currently service about 22 adults per day on average, ranging in age from about 40 to 90.” In total, ADSP has more than 40 participants, primarily from Hudson, with some from Litchfield and Nashua. “While some of our participants have some mild physical, memory or neurological impairments, many come for the socialization and to be in a caring, stimulating environment with all ages,” she explained, “We also offer flexible services, from as little as one day a week, up to seven hours every weekday.” While there is room for new members, ADSP is limited to about 30 adults daily, due to the facility’s licensing limits. When Smaha invites prospects to “give it a try for a day,” she finds most come back.
The program operates weekdays (8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and offers a hot breakfast and lunch, a full-time nurse, activities director and other trained staff. Thankfully, with United Way grants and state funding (Titles XX and IIIB), the largely subsidized program is offered at reasonable user fees, as low as $3 - 4 an hour. “Keeping with the Area Agency’s mission,” Smaha also noted, “No one has ever been turned away because of an inability to pay.” In addition, private transportation options exist for Hudson, Litchfield, and Nashua residents through Care-Ride.
The remarkable program is all made possible through a collaborative agreement between a private non-profit, the Area Agency of Greater Nashua (AAGN; www.areaagencynh.com) and the Hudson School District. Superintendent Randy Bell recently brought the agreement before the school board (January 22) as the latest five-year contract faced renewal. “This contract has existed since the formation of the tech center itself,” introduced Bell, who heartily supported it. He stressed, “ADSP provides an invaluable community service” and is “closely tied to our curriculum, particularly Health Occupation (at AHS).”
Beth Raymond, AAGN’s VP of Individual and Family Services, also addressed the Hudson school board to express her “agency’s appreciation.” She highlighted, “ADSP is the only inter-generational adult day care program in New Hampshire,” and is “very worthwhile for the both the students and participants.” AHS students not only obtain “social interaction through stories and activities,” Raymond detailed, “but also access an actual real practicum lab” to study geriatric and health issues. Little Broncos pre-schoolers are also often involved with the program as are AHS students related to flower arranging, Checker’s restaurant, and choirs. “We’re blessed to be in this school system and appreciate all that Hudson’s staff, students, and school board have done,” stated Raymond. “I love giving tours there,” she concluded, “it’s quite a place to be proud of.”
As expected, the Hudson school board unanimously extended the AAGN-SAU 81 contract (1-29-07) through mid-2010 in a follow-up vote (1-29-07), with slight modifications. Contract revisions included a shorter three-year term (“for greater administrative flexibility” with AHS’ upcoming master plan), closing the facility for three days in August for cleaning, and aligning contract dates with SAU’s fiscal year.
The program also forges symbiotic relationships. “ADSP is such a valuable resource for Alvirne; we love the program,” emphatically declared Jane Colavito, AHS’ Health Occupation teacher, “My HOSA (Health Occupation Student Association) students routinely interact with ADSP clients, take vital signs, and can explore the health and geriatric fields through hands-on experiences they can’t get elsewhere.” The program also offers some things most everyone seeks – the chance to feel needed and basic human connections.
AHS Senior and ‘Health Oc’ student, Lauren Casey, plans to go into nursing, in part because of the ADSP she’s worked with since 2005. “This is a really good program,” shared Lauren, smiling while taking a blood-pressure check on Sister Julie Payment, a willing patient and former teacher, “We’re able to learn far more here through our hands-on application of nursing skills.”
Ironically, while there isn’t currently a waiting list for ADSP’s participants, there is for AHS student volunteers. “The AHS students that come to help are just awesome,” reported Sue Tencza-Dean, ADSP Activities Director, “While we welcome their extra hands, especially at meals and activities, we’re unfortunately limited to 15 AHS student volunteers per semester.” Tencza-Dean sincerely emphasized, “We’re really like a family here,” and “our program helps all ages.”
AHS sophomore, Nicole Provencher, played bingo with ADSP member, Barbara Shokal, which elicits grins from both. Coming at lunchtime most days, Nicolle shared, “I really enjoy being here and helping people.”
Another Alvirne volunteer, Jim McNeill, was initially inducted into ADSP to complete 20 hours of community service. “I’m officially done next week,” the affable teenager admitted, “but I’m going to stay on after -- I like it and it’s a lot of fun.”
Canvassing more than a dozen adult participants, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. “Wonderful,” “caring,” “home,” and “family” were some of the phrases members used to describe the ADSP. A 33 year-old Hudson resident, Jennifer Wilson, who comes three times a week, simply shared, “I love it here!”
“ADSP is an absolutely fabulous program,” assessed the program’s RN supervisor, Dawn Robinson. “Its a great alternative to nursing homes as it allows people to stay home or live independently longer,” she explained, “It gives a much needed respite to family care givers and provides support from trained professionals who can handle health issues like dementia, MS, rehabilitation, stroke, early Alzheimer’s and diabetes.”
The program also supports its patrons by effectively addressing common elder afflictions like depression, isolation, loneliness, and loss. “The elderly especially face excruciating losses – often the loss of their spouse, health, home and independence,” shared Robinson empathetically, “The ADSP focuses on the positive; offers reasons to help them get up in the morning and live life; and gives back something invaluable – companionship.”
In leaving the facility, an energetic woman in her eighties offers a warm smile of thanks, while busily washing up lunch dishes. Though it was unclear if she was a volunteer or participant, she was later identified as Yolande Dube, one of ADSP’s most reliable employees from its start. Dube’s parting words also rang true, “With the great ADSP family and activities here, why on earth would I want to sit around at home all alone?”
For more information on the Adult Day Service Program at the AHS Voc-Tech, call 883-0994, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.areaagencynh.com.
Photos and captions (please use photo 1 and any others you have room for):
ADSP 1 1-07:
AHS Senior and Health Occupation Student, Lauren Casey (right) does a blood pressure check on ADSP member, Sister Julie Payment (seated) assisted by ADSP Director, Mary Beth Smaha.
ADSP 2 1-07:
ADSP participant Barbara Shokal (left), shares a smile with AHS sophomore, Nicolle Provencher.
ADSP 3 1-07:
Alvirne High School volunteer, Jim McNeill (left) sits with a member and friend, 33-year-old Hudson resident Jennifer Wilson, who “loves” the Adult Day Service Program at AHS’ Voc-Tech.
ADSP 4 1-07:
ADSP Activities Director, Sue Tencza-Dean (standing, right) poses with happy ADSP members (from left): Jay York (40, Litchfield); Lori Wilson (39, Hudson); and Vickie Tamposi (42, Nashua), and emphasized, “We’re like family at ADSP and our program is for all ages.”