I'm in the camp that says it's creepy for strange men to videotape your children while they walk to school...
And run along beside them, trying to covertly slip into the pack.
Even if they are from the local Fox affiliate news station.
Newscasters notwithstanding, today was the first day of Garner Elementary's first Walking School Bus pilot program. Oldest and Middle got in line behind twenty or so other kids from the neighborhood and marched to school following a child wearing a lightweight plastic "school bus."
Some have already asked me what a walking school bus is, other than the obvious part--walking. Here's the scoop. The walking school bus has a "driver," my neighbor in fact. There are also what you might consider "bus aides," neighborhood parent volunteers or Johnson County Health/Americorp workers. There are bus stops and bus times and when Oldest and Middle got on the bus today, my neighbor Amy (the driver) "checked" them in on her bus roster. Tiny and I, already planning on a stroller ride/walk, decided to tag along on what turned out to be something bigger than I had ever anticipated. We weren't a block past our stop when Fox news pulled up, and the cameraman asked the kids to "not look at the camera" while he panned back and forth on the line. Soon, KGAN and KWWL joined the ranks, holding up traffic a bit on Front Street. And all along the way, our school bus line grew, the stragglers way down at the end with the last Americorp volunteer. When finally our bus made it to the front of Garner Elementary, we were greeted by about half the school's teachers, the guidance counselor, the principal, and a bunch of people wearing suits (who I found out later were from Johnson County Public Health and the school district's supervisory board); the children arrived to applause from all grown-ups present. My neighbor says that this is the first walking school bus in Johnson County and Public Health officials are super excited, considering childhood obesity and all. I'm giving the walking school bus a thumbs up for it's first day. It was fun, amusing (thanks to the Fox cameraman), and the organizers were well-prepared.
In other news, I just went through my closet and weeded out cold-weather wear. My spring and summer clothes are now piled on the shelves and I found myself staring at a stack of gauchos with a mildly irritating conviction that gauchos were so 2008 and 2012 is the year of the (skinny) capri. I think my gauchos will work if I plan to go fishing a lot. Or attach a woven basket to my bike before I ride to the farmer's market. Or grow my hair long and call myself Sunny or Rainbo. Darn. I really am such a hippie sometimes.
If you haven't already, please check out our Mozambique story here! Una and I have raised $1500 of the $7000 we need for our trip! Yay! And thank you to all who have helped.