Cost of Babysitter for SpiderMonkey & Twinkeys: $26
Gas to get there: $60
Lunch on the way: $16.74
Easter baskets: $2.00
Creating a memory at "Great Easter Egg Hunt 2008": Priceless BULLSH!T!! This fuhking disaster cost me $116.74, a crying kid, and a migraine!
I wrote a letter to the organization (below) which should explain it to you, too!
RE: The event advertised as "'March 22nd , Saturday, Noon until 2 PM, Great Easter Egg Hunt 2008 : Thousands of Easter eggs will be hidden throughout the Fort grounds for children to search for. Many eggs will be eligible for prizes! This Friends of Fort Knox fundraiser is $3 per person (rain/snow date 3/29).'"
I am regretfully emailing to inform you that the "Great Easter Egg Hunt 2008" held by the Friends of Fort Knox was anything BUT "Great." My children participated in the 1:00pm hunt and I would be very surprised to hear if the "Thousands of Easter eggs" that were advertised (on SEVERAL Community Calendars) to be hidden "throughout the Fort grounds" added up to a couple hundred that were thoughtlessly scattered in a very small field outside the Fort just minutes before the hunt began. The two women who "hid" (read: knealt in the snow and flung) the eggs carried four, possible five, grocery-style bags down to that field while the hundreds of children watched excitedly.
In my opinion, this event should be labeled an Easter Egg RACE, because that's exactly what these children had to do. As in races, there are winners and non-winners. The winners in this case were the few preteens who got to the bottom the fastest and walked away with grocery bags reasonably full of eggs. Once the smaller children, armed with their cute little Easter baskets (and clutching their parent with the other hand for safety), FINALLY reached the bottom of the steep, icy decline, there were no eggs left to be hunted. You were lucky that Tina Shute from the Village Soup was available to take pictures of the anticipation on the children's faces BEFORE the race, because her pictures, had she taken any AFTER it, would have showed completely different emotion. I witnessed several children, including one of my own, crying (he had ONE egg in his basket, his brother has four). Two little girls were holding their empty bags upsidedown and screaming through tears that "this is the worst day EVER!" while their parents, as my husband and myself did, stood there helplessly wishing we could lay candy-filled eggs ourselves.
I was one of the remaining parents who breathlessly meandered into the Visitor Center after consoling and/or carrying our children back up the steep cliff. I heard several parents complain to any "Friends of Fort Knox" they could find (I WAS rather impressed with how quickly several of you disappeared) and was equally disappointed to hear your "friendly" retorts that you can't control the greediness of the first few kids who made the steep trip down. Now, I only partially agree here. I agree you can't control the fact that they were/are greedy, but I do believe that there are several ways around future devastation. The first few are quite obvious.
*Buy more eggs/candy. There were two sessions of egghunters today. Aged 6 & under and 7 & above, I believe. If the first group had even half as many people brave the 30+mph winds today, the Friends of Fort Knox easily raised SEVERAL thousands of dollars (based on the $3.00 charge per person, Parents included!!). Would it really hurt to spend a couple hundred on eggs/candy and be sure everyone was smiling when they left??!?
*Start at the bottom of the hill. What really is the point of the steep climb anyway, besides filtering the weak/febile to the back of the pack? Or better yet...
*Have the hunt INSIDE the Fort's grounds, where EVERYone thought the only LOGICAL place to hold a "hunt" was. The area is much bigger there, you could line up the children on one side, after thoughtfully placing the eggs in the field, and have them collect eggs in a much more orderly fashion (ie. walking straight forward). After all, we did pay MORE than the $1.00 fee for ages 5-11 charged during the summer months to actually be inside the Fort.
*Hold the Hunts in two locations. Utilize the area around the Visitor Center for the younger group and hold the older age group's hunt inside the Fort, thus dimishing the frantic, thoughtless tossing of eggs within minutes of the second race. Both areas could be set up well in advance of the races.
*Set an egg limit and ACTUALLY have enough "Friends of Fort Knox" there to enforce it. How, you ask? There's a visible difference between 10-15 eggs in a grocery bag than a FULL bag. Why didn't any one of you speak to the greedy kids and throw/roll a few eggs back down to the criers frantically searching below? The limit could easily be set before each race, considering that you make a conscious effort to dole out plenty of eggs based on this years numbers ($$ collected, perhaps? A Friend of Fort Knox could be in the collection booth tallying #s of kids). Knowing how many eggs you have on the grounds, divided by the number of hunters in attendance (easily determined by a quick head count of the children in an orderly line, given ample space--like inside the Fort), should give you the number of eggs to announce before the race. It's too hard to separate parents from children in such a large group, you say? Well it wouldn't be if we all weren't scared of our children plummeting to their death (or dental demise) on the jagged rocks below. If you had the hunt in an open area, say like the one inside the Fort, the parents would greatfully stand on the sidelines.
*To reduce costs, you could have boxes available in/around the Visitor Center where the children could empty their eggs and donate them back for use the following year. I'm sure the kids wouldn't mind so they could come back the next year, nor would the parents mind, who wouldn't be stepping on the eggs in the middle of the night or cleaning them up from the car.
*Have some of the "Friends of Fort Knox" walk around with bags of eggs to scatter near children who have not met their egg quota (or atleast who haven't found ANY eggs).
*Cancel it altogether. This was relatively false advertising on several fronts ('thousands of eggs...throughout the grounds...hunt...great'). And, if you're not willing to put in the effort of making SURE all children in attendance found atleast ONE Easter Egg, what is the point? I was hoping the point was a happy Easter memory. If your organization is not willing to commit to the happy part, it should not be holding such events for children. I mean, it's not October. We did not bring our kids to "Fright at the Fort" half-expecting them to leave in tears, and I don't believe it was advertised as "Devastation at the Fort" or "Survival of the Fittest at the Fort." It's an Easter Egg Hunt, plain and simple, so shouldn't there have been enough eggs?
If you take a moment to look over the numbers of today's fundraiser, you should certainly see a HUGE income vs. expense profit. Clearly, this is a relatively large fundraiser for the "Friends of Fort Knox," and a fairly effortless one. Please take a moment to analyze the numbers and see the benefit of adding more eggs, thus adding more smiles. The best advertisement for events like these is word of mouth. I could not find anyone who had attended previous years, but I can assure you that if I had and I'd heard the experience such as the one I'm now describing to people, I guarantee we would NOT have been there today.
I have to admit, I'm caught in a "mama bear defending her baby bear" moment here, which is the sarcasm you're probably reading (coupled with the late hour its become trying to make sure tomorrow's Egg Hunt at home is just a bit grander, which I promised as I coaxed my sons up the cliff). Above all, though, I want you to be aware of the disappointment suffered by so many Maine families today. I'm sure this is not the first letter to cross your desk, nor will it be the last, I bet. I hope you'll take any opinions into consideration from the parents you hear from. It's pretty much our job to keep the smiles on our kids faces, so the pointers you receive should be useful ones. We're all pretty experienced in this area.
Thank you for your time,
So that was our Easter disaster. How was yours? Sincerely priceless, I hope!!