Each school year our agency coordinates Intergenerational Folk Art Fairs with the support of volunteers from our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP. A typical Fair involves the efforts of 50 RSVP volunteers under the leadership of RSVP Manager Sue Galkowski. Sue meets with school personnel, usually the principal and several key parent volunteers, beginning months ahead of the actual Fair date.
On the day of the Fair, the gymnasium and several classrooms are taken over by RSVP volunteers. These volunteers demonstrate folklore hobbies and skills, do story telling, show historical collections to students, lead the students in building a log cabin and assist the students in trying activities such a sewing buttons, old-time toys, tools for woodworking, and more. These 50 RSVP volunteers will interact with every student in the school, between 300 - 800 depending on the individual school.
Classroom teachers have been preparing the students for this special day by discussing the types of activities that will be presented and how the activities relate to the history of Wisconsin. Students are very excited to go through the Fair - even the sixth-graders can be seen having fun with spinning tops. Teachers will often comment on how respectful their students are with the RSVP volunteers, and we rarely see any discipline problems during the activities.
What's most wonderful to observe are the interactions between the RSVP volunteers and the students. Even though there can be a difference of 75 years between their ages, the volunteers and children learn together and enjoy the activities.
We are always looking for more volunteers to help with the Fairs. If you would like to be part of these special days, please call our agency for more information - 262-522-2403. We have several collections that be exhibited with a little training. Get involved!