Claus flies to the Devon Glen Farm in Hamiliton Massachusetts at
an Education Outbound sponsored special event over the Christmas
Education Outbound sponsored a special event over the Christmas
Santa Claus was flown in by helicopter to Devon Glen Farm in
Hamilton Massachusetts, where over 100 underprivileged and needy
children from foster homes and children's shelters (in the
North Shore Area) waited with great anticipation. The children
ranged in age from 2 to 14 years old.
When the helicopter landed and Santa hopped out, all the children
ran to greet him! After a lot of hugs, Santa then distributed
gifts to all the children inside the barn. All the
children had a terrific time and really enjoyed meeting Santa,
opening up their gifts, visiting with all the animals, riding
in the hay wagons, and sipping hot cocoa and gobbling up chocolate chip
cookies. It was a day that Education Outbound will
never forget; a day filled with laughter, bright smiles, open arms,
and a great deal of happiness.
100 little reminders - Editorial
by Bill Woolley , Published in the Community
Newspaper Company and the Hamilton Wenham Chronicle.
We know. The most appropriate use of this space in your hometown
newspaper would have been to sort out all the numbers, statistics,
formulas and percentages that come attached like barnacles to the
latest budget debacle. It would be perfectly fitting to come up
with a perspective on the problem, pick a suitable scapegoat, and
settle on an opinion about what ought to be done and why. Discussions
about state and local budgets have been, after all, the unwelcome
guests on our newspaper pages, TV screens, and at our holiday parties
this week. When added to the emotional and economic fallout from
the Sept. 11 attacks, we have precious little time left to ponder
the more poignant moments usually ushered into our hearts with the
arrival of December.
Consequently, the call that came into the Chronicle late last week
was met with more than just a pinch of Grinch. Another arrival of
Santa, we were told. By helicopter, they said, at some farm in Hamilton.
Honestly now, how many times can we cover the arrival of Santa before
becoming of kindred mind with Scrooge?
Santa, we believe, has set some sort of record for appearances
on the North Shore this year. In our communities alone, he’s
been booked at the Wenham Museum, the Community House, and in who
knows how many schools. In nearby communities, the jolly, old elf
has arrived numerous times in parades, at shopping malls and on
lobster boats. Bah, humbug. We have budgets to discuss.
Then we learned the rest of the story surrounding Santa’s
arrival by helicopter at Devon Glen Farm, owned by the Donovan family
of Hamilton. This Christmas moment was going to be brought to you
by Megan Connolly of Education Outbound, a non-profit organization
that provides field trips for students in disadvantaged schools,
as well as for children living in group homes or shelters.
“I’ve always wanted to have a positive impact on children
like that,” said Connolly, a 27-year-old Hamilton resident
who started questioning her career path as a classroom teacher a
couple of summers ago. “When I was growing up, we went on
lots of field trips and they meant so much to me.
“Some school districts have decided not to have field trips
anymore because of budget constraints. Education Outbound is designed
to enhance children’s educational experiences by introducing
them to places and special things they might never be able to see.”
Like a farm, for instance, and hayrides. Like horses and cows and
sheep and goats. Like meadows of soft, green grass that stretch
out to wooded hillsides. Like barns where you could get hot chocolate
and homemade cookies. And yes, like Santa arriving in a helicopter
to give real gifts to children who go to bed every night without
knowing where mommy and daddy are.
And so, on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon, 100 such children
were herded out onto a field at Devon Glen Farm. On the way, one
young lady, maybe 10 and already embittered by life, whacked at
a tree with a stick and muttered to no one in particular, “If
Santa even does come, he better have presents.” A veteran
of disappointment, she was preparing herself, it seemed, to face
Eventually, the children could hear the faraway rumble of an engine
and see the bug-like silhouette of a helicopter in the distance.
Soon, it came closer but was lost in the blazing sun, leaving children
quinting and holding mittened hands over their eyes. Moments later,
as the rumble became a roar, the aircraft swooped down into view
in front of the young and, by now, awestruck audience.
Never this year, maybe never in their lives had such a simple glimpse
of red clothing carried such sheer and unspeakable excitement. After
the helicopter hovered, as piloted by John Donovan Jr., it settled
softly on the ground. When Santa (a.k.a. George Lantz, Donovan’s
amply pillowed brother-in-law) finally stepped out, the children
were given the OK to dash across the field.
Away they went… even that little girl who’d dropped
her stick, as well as her anger, somewhere back by that tree she’d
“The reason I’m doing this,” said Connolly, after
the event, “is that I can’t even begin to tell you how
excited these kids can be.”
You don’t have to tell us, Ms. Connolly. We saw it for ourselves…
and somehow, for an afternoon at least, municipal budgets were the
farthest thing from our minds.
Education Outbound would like to thank all
of the contributors that helped to make this special event happen.