Independence Day is a favorite time of the year for many people and a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.
The traditions that most of us are familiar with included fireworks, parades, BBQ’s, backyard baseball games, and family gatherings. A warm weather holiday where most everyone is able to spend time in celebration, having fun together while also being reminded that we all have a lot to be grateful for.
Yesterday at Ironwood, staff and students took advantage of the national holiday by adhering to a full schedule of activities that can be found in the many backyards across this country. At first light, the students gathered to a ceremonious flag raise with accompanying music and salutes. After routine chores the students then sat down to pancakes with homemade syrup, blueberries, and strawberries to ignite the energy needed for a full day of fun.
Through late-morning and early afternoon, the students rotated through various stations of play. The administration field was decked out with a volleyball court, disk-golf course, spike-ball. Near the garden, the students were challenged in a timed adventure course complete with balance beams set up over pools of water. There was also a designated field for an all-out water-gun battle and a huge blow-up slip-n-slide. As early afternoon approached, some students volunteered to become “grill masters,” flipping and serving burgers for the whole campus, while others passed out ice-cream sandwiches to those waiting for lunch. Yes, for some on this day, dessert was enjoyed in front of their afternoon main course!
In reality, the festivities started the day before in that dinner was prepared and cooked on Wednesday, the 3rd. Several weeks ago, students took direction from one staff to re-build the famous Ironwood “bean-hole pit” near the main garden. A Bean hole is a stone-lined pit in which a fire is built up until a large bed of coals is formed and then the food is lowered into the pit, covered and then further still, left overnight. This year’s dinner was a full-on pig roast, complete with pulled-pork, homemade coleslaw, and slow-cooked baked beans. The day then ended with the showing of the patriotic action movie, “Captain America.”
Our campus was full of smiles, laughter, patriotic symbolism, long-standing traditions, and some good ol’ fashioned, summer fun. It was incredibly rewarding to spend time with each of the students here on campus, enjoying themselves by just being kids. While there wereno fire-works, the most memorable event of the day for me was an impromptu version of the National Anthem in which all students, in various locations on-campus, bellowed the star-spangle banner with confidence and pride. I hope that each of you “back home,” were equally fulfilled with your own personal family traditions, national pride and connection to others.
Have a great weekend!