\"Mad Science\" Park District Programming

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 1:47am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Dear Mr. <>,

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the conversation I had today with "XXXX", an employee of the "Mad Science" franchise.

My son (age 11) came to me early today to remind me "Robot Camp" was tomorrow, March 3. He had mentioned it weeks earlier, we talked about registering him, but I never got around to it and totally forgot. When I called the park district this morning, there was one slot left, and I promptly registered him, but with some reservations, as he has a severe peanut and nut allergy, (lentils too) and Asthma. I was concerned since "lunch" would be held, and I was unfamiliar with the program. What some people take for granted, dropping your child off at a park district day program, is a major logistical nightmare when you have a child with health concerns, and in particular, health concerns where safety is often subject to the cooperation of other individuals. When the affected individual is a child, such activities are often near impossible, considering the ubiquitous nature of peanuts and nuts and the propensity for cross contamination children have.

I asked the Park district employee to please ask if the person in charge of the "Robot Camp" could please contact me to discuss the activity and schedule, (mainly how lunch would be handled), in more detail. I was concerned that possibly, I would need to be present for him to attend the activity. I also wanted to assess how familiar those who would be in charge were with Life Threatening Food allergies.

Imagine my surprise when upon receiving the call shortly this afternoon, XXXX informed me that not only was the franchise familiar with such food allergies, they had already called all fifteen families, requested they refrain from sending in products containing peanuts or treenuts, would wipe down the tables before and after lunch, and would have the children wash their hands after the lunch break. He also asked, of his own accord if my child carried an epi-pen. He understood the urgent nature of emergency treatment if it was necessary.

It looks as if Mad Science "gets it". They understand. What took my school district nearly half a decade to do willingly, and only after hours of meetings and a federally backed "special education" designation, your staff does as routine, without even having met my child, or myself.

XXXX made my entire year. Please, thank him again for me. I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude. This is a "first" for my family. This kind of understanding when it comes to this need.

I homeschooled my son for two years waiting for my school district to voluntarily have the same concern and compassion. He's a very socially outgoing child, and his allergies, especially during early years, severly limited our ability to allow him much social latitude. I'm trying to expand that aspect of his life while also giving him an opportunity to participate in activities he loves. He is an honor roll student, and very adept in science. I'm sure he will enjoy your program tomorrow and is eagerly anticipating it. It will be the first time he's ever participated in this kind of park district program, or any kind of day long park district programming.

Again, thank Mad Science, thank you, and thank XXXX.

God Bless,
Mrs. <>

**************************************

Just relating my own personal experience and happenstance, Individual Mileage May Vary.

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 2:20am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Oh my goodness! That is absolutely fabulous! You must be in heaven and your son in outer space.
I had a very similar experience at a week long science camp in Dallas, only after sending a letter, complete with the ADA Guidlelines for daycare (which the Dept of Justice ADA representative told me was applicable) with all relevant violations highlighted when they had told my son he could not attend (after I had offered five options for accomodation, most on our part). The next year it was absolutely beautful--like this.
But your experience--wow. It makes me think of what the other PA child must have experienced the following year at the science camp, not knowing what we went through the prior year.
I'm betting someone paved the way for you.
But that's fine.
I hope he's having a delightful time right now.
And FYI--confession time: I plan to blatantly steal from your letter (especially the first part) in the future. It's perfect.

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:01am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]
I'm betting someone paved the way for you.[/b]
I confess. I had wondered. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] This might be a stretch, but since my school district is in this park district, I'm hoping some of it will rub off. Although, things are improving. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img] I mean, they are like [i]cousins[/i].
Quote:[b]And FYI--confession time: I plan to blatantly steal from your letter (especially the first part) in the future. It's perfect.[/b]
You are making me blush......and humbly stating, people, please glean whatever you can, it's why it's a BB, yes?
Oh, and thank you for reminding me....I must write a similiar "thank you" to the park district cc'ing copies as necessary. They even staffed an extra "helper" for the room today, to ensure hands get washed, and tables cleaned. I'm absolutely, positively [i]humbled[/i]. And most folks here know, that's hard to do to me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Just to ease any anxiety staff might have had, (or that I had) I stopped in for lunch as they had offered having me do. I remained outside the classroom (beautifully facillities, btw) for about five minutes, then left. My son was none the wiser. A staff manager gave me her cell this morning and took mine as well. There is even a very prepared fire department/ambulance within a few blocks. I couldn't ask for any better situation, YK?

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:02am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

oh, and btw, "Mad Science" is online, I believe they also have their own facillitites, but only perused the site for some email addy's. I could be wrong.

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:10am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

WOW!!
I too have come to just [i]expect[/i] things to [i]never[/i] work like that.
Were you at any point pinching yourself just to be sure? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Congratulations to your cub!!!
(And huge kudos to Mad Science!)
[i]someday.... I can only hope that someday everyone will understand like this...[/i]
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:10am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]But your experience--wow. It makes me think of what the other PA child must have experienced the following year at the science camp, not knowing what we went through the prior year.
[/b]
last post....gotta get some housework done, but, suppose if the way was paved, it might have been, let's say [i]milk[/i], or some other allergy? One never knows, but I wrote the letter none-the-less. I am still over-joyed. It feels GREAT to thank someone for a change, rather than complain. Loving it! And I want them to feel [i]good[/i] about what they are doing, to know how appreciated it is. To know [i]it is the right thing[/i].
I was planning to hug any parent who grumbled about the [i]request[/i].....to thank them for their cooperation...but I didn't encounter a single one who grumbled. All parents, guardians, were there, waiting for the room to open up. We were even within earshot of the staff person instructing the extra person staffed, in when to have the children clean up, and how/when to wash the tables down. I braced myself, but, nope, the planets were aligned, everyone smiling. Everyone content. It was like a weight was lifted.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited March 03, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:12am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]
(And huge kudos to Mad Science!)
[/b]
maybe it's the gene pool. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 3:13am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

...a sampling bias. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 4:16am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

[url="http://www.madscience.org/locations/chicagowest/videos.aspx"]http://www.madscience.org/locations/chicagowest/videos.aspx[/url]
General, very, very, general neurotic disclaimer: I do not guarantee the accuracy currentness, content, or applicability of the link in this post. But WOW! I know how I'm planning my children's next birthday's!!! I'm even looking into the franchise...

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 10:24am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

"Mad Science" is offered in our school building as an after-school program. Flyers are sent home through the school, and the school accepts payment made to Mad Science. It is held in the school, usually in the cafeteria.
Wondering what affect it would have on your school district if Mad Science were to be offered in your school district. . .

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 11:24am
NicoleinNH's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

Mommabear-Thanks for sharing the information about this very cool program. It is even better to hear they are allergy-aware (at least in Chicago area). Great letter, as well!

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 12:03pm
TwokidsNJ's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2005 - 09:00

Maybe you could CC your letter to the school district, or send to a local newspaper's letters section?

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 1:10pm
mcmom's picture
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Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

Both of my sons attend Mad Science at their school, it is a weekly after school program. Most of the schools in my area offer it.
Since it was being held in the school, I held out some hope of being able to drop my PA son off, but no such luck. When I called the local MS director, he told me emphatically that MS would have no accountablility or liability for any child's health issues. So while my son attends the one hour session, I stay down the hall in another classroom. His classmate has diabetes, and his parent stays as well.
Additionally, at the start of each term, I have informed the instructor about ds's allergies. The first term was fine, but this term I have not been happy with the instructor. She assured me that the kids were not doing any experiments involving food. Then during one session, they made cotton candy (which most of the other kids prompty ate, which made ds totally jealous, of course.) Then ds informed me that kids were being allowed to eat snacks at the start of class (the first term the teacher did not let them) so now I have to go in and police everyone's snack.
I will say the both my kids absolutely love this class, and of course I am used to waiting around. Just wanted to share a different perspective of dealing with them. I would imagine it completely depends on whomever is the director of whatever facility services your area/school district.

Posted on: Tue, 03/06/2007 - 2:53pm
Nicole1401's picture
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Joined: 12/27/2002 - 09:00

We are only 2 weeks into our Mad Science experience and are finding our franchise to be somewhere in the middle of the road compared to the other posts.
I did want to mention that I was told that the Wacky Waves session uses oil--and often times peanut oil. (The instructor says it is darker and shows up better.) To her credit, she casually mentioned that maybe they shouldn't use peanut oil anymore with the increase in peanut allergies. She didn't say they wouldn't, but at least the thought crossed her mind.
It doesn't matter to us at this point in time, Wacky Waves isn't one of the sessions this time. Also, the instructor said that the equipment used for Wacky Waves is used ONLY for Wacky Waves.

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