What Exactly Is Labor Day?

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Well, another Labor Day has come and gone, and once again, here are the takeaways: Most got a three-day weekend, those that had to work dealt with a manageable level of traffic and we are once again unsure if we are allowed to wear anything white now for the rest of the year. But what really is Labor Day?

We will give a brief history of how the holiday came to be and what it means today. Sufficed to say, you can safely wear all the white you want.

How It Started

In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people were at the parade and anybody that came gave up a days work.

By 1887 Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday based on the success of their own parades held for the same reasons.

 

Who Exactly Started It?

Matthew Maguire, a machinist, and a carpenter have been linked to the 1882 parade. The men were from rival unions and because of their similar-sounding names the actual credit has been lost in time. In 2011, Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department Labor Historian was tasked with deeming the creator and she arrived at the same conclusion. Hence, we give credit to both men.

President Grover Cleveland and lawmakers in Washington wanted a federal holiday to celebrate labor and Cleveland signed an act in 1894 establishing the federal holiday “Labor Day”. Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to make Labor Day a federal legal holiday on the first Monday of September. It was approved on June 28, 1894.

 

What’s Up With the Whole Wearing White Thing?

This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era. Because the date of Labor Day was officially September 1st, it became the mark of the end of summer. Wearing white was considered a fashion faux pax after the summer holiday as it was considered the color most associated with vacation attire and to be worn at your summer cottage. We have long surpassed this fashion snafu and are more than free to wear whatever we like.

 

So there you have it. Not unlike other days and celebrations we celebrate as a nation, there is great meaning and historical significance to Labor Day. People have suffered long and hard for the right to take a day off, so do recognize the people that build our country and tip them the hat, even if it is white.

Five Back-To-School Tips That Never Make the List

 

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Once again the time is upon us, as the tans begin to fade, the last remaining grains of sand come dislodged from the places that only sand can find and new school shoes gear up for a couple of month of kicking rocks to and from the bus stop accompanied by an infinite supply of grumbling. Ah yes, a new school year full of promise as well as challenges.

Not unlike most monumental happenings, the ones less likely to survive the shift are those that choose to milk the remaining minutes out of the passing time rather than prepare for it. Some simply find themselves in a been-there, done-that mentality and invariably get bowled over by the unforeseen challenges that arise. Whether it is your first back-to-school year or you live in a shoe; we all seem to know the basics, but those aren’t enough.

Here then are five things that don’t make most back-to-school lists that are sure to give you that veteran appearance and calm the seas for your smooth sailing.

1. Don’t Unleash a Swarm of Questions on the Teacher, Day 1

We all know that we have the most important kid in the class and we really need everybody to see that only the best will do for our prince/princess, but think about the cross-examination you are about to deliver so you can have every question answered on day one and then multiply that by the 20 other parents dropping off. Don’t add to the confusion. You have 3 things to do when you get to the school, drop off, honk and wave….that’s it!

2. Get There Early

This was true back in my days of being dropped off, and now imagine it with the shrinking to nonexistent attention span of the triple-shot mocha choca locha malarkey, four minutes late to their own funeral, no time to say hello-goodbye mom on a mission. We snicker at them until inevitably we are them. Make it a goal to not be them. Be early. “On time” is so 2000.

3. Think About Your Kids Feelings

Even if the beginning of the school year is not a cataclysmic jump, like 8th to 9th grade, the beginning of a new school year is the prime environment for anxiety to grow in. Talk to your kids in the last few weeks of summer and find out how they are feeling about the coming year. If they are too young to fully express themselves, be proactive and incorporate a nighttime book that deal with this topic in a fun and professional way. Ask what they think the other kids are expecting and help them reach that goal, but most of all, just listen. Let your child know that you’re on their team! This will take any loneliness out of the vastness of the moment.

4. Talk To Your Kids EVERY DAY About Their Day

This is not only underrated, but the first item to slip through the cracks after the first few weeks. Most families start with the intent of making the first conversation around the dinner table resemble exactly the Ozzie and Harriet shows they grew up on (did I just date myself?), but then the calendar gets heavy, siblings are coming and going and before you know it the “tell us about your day” is replaced with “there are Hot Pockets in the freezer”. Find the time to ask and listen how EVERY DAY is going for your kid, all year long. You will most likely be able to hear what they aren’t telling you this way.

5. This One is a Two-Fer and Will Save Gray Hairs

Get closer to your computer, I am going to whisper this so not everybody hears, because what I am about to tell you pays dividends over and over again. First-buy Two PE outfits! Not only does this cut your laundry cycle down by more than half, but also your kid won’t become “Stinky Pete” in the yearbook! Secondly-Never buy a key lock for a locker, only buy combo. This teaches the child number memorization as stops you from having to search, and then buy, multiple locks all year long. If they wanted in their locker so badly they should have remembered the number….being a parent is fun!

So there you have it, five things that seldom make the traditional lists but are sure to save you gray hairs or pulling it all out…make a note that I am bald and only want to give back!

Attracting and Keeping Volunteers

 

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We are a nonprofit, and with this label come certain challenges. Before we get too deep, let us recognize that these challenges are met with the understanding that what we are doing has dramatic payoffs in community, environmental impact and karma. Never the less, we absolutely know what it is like to operate on a small budget and still garnish the attention of quality people that are interested in making a difference, with the payoff being cut-in-line privileges at the Pearly Gates.

One of the very most refreshing trends happening over the last year of two has been the surge of willing Millennials. This demographic has a natural sense of community and civic duty and represent the largest piece of the pie on the philanthropic chart. Todays young adults have seen their parents reinvent themselves and grow from self-building, they have grown up around churches and organizations like Boy Scouts with a heavy “give back” message and their thirst to be thoroughly informed on current events is never-quenching which keeps them in the front lines of volunteering.

In the beginning we here at TCI relied heavily on our own grammar school aged kids to do much of the busy work. Sorting crayons, boxing, applying labels, etc. And guess what-they are still our cornerstone, but have brought a slew of talents that have grown up in our garages. They bring friends to get involved, use their technical savvy to create info videos and speak about what we do with a natural sense of ownership to those curious about us. Point being, the future looks bright for the younger generation following in the Millennial footprints.

If you are a nonprofit and need volunteers to help the cogs in the machine turning, here are some tips to make the journey successful for you.

 

Post-It

Take out an ad in community newsletters or websites. Give specific examples of the work you are doing and the time commitments needed, as well as paint the picture of the projected growth of your company. People love to volunteer but are even more drawn to the possibility of being involved with something from the ground floor. This could turn out to be the best internship there ever was.

 

Just Ask

It is reported that the number one reason that people don’t volunteer is because nobody asked for their help. Bearing that in mind, use verbiage in your ad like “can you help us do _____” or “we are sorting crayons this Sunday and could really use your help for two hours”. Be specific.

 

List Expectations


In written form, either in the body of an ad, or at least when a volunteer makes initial contact, the very first thing you should do is communicate the list of exactly what is expected. Having this list in print form for them to keep is also very helpful. Too often, volunteers sign up for one thing and get roped into doing something completely different. The water cooler talk has created gun shyness among would-be volunteers. People want to know what they are signing up for and then get exactly that.

 

Praise and Educate

 

Explain in depth the exact impact that they volunteers work is going to have on the overall success of the company or campaign. Make sure that your volunteer knows exactly what you do, big-picture, and how you see the future based on the work that is being done today. The analogy is to show the concrete mixer responsible for pouring the foundation of the house a picture of the projected finished product. Everybody likes to work with vision and goal in the forefront of their imagination.

 

If you are an organization that needs volunteers and are lucky enough to get some, you need to realize that these are remarkable human beings that want to trade their time and energy for the greater good. They should feel invested in the project that you have laid out and feel wonderfully fulfilled when their heads hit the pillow. Never lose site of the fact that these very people are the exact type you may want running the organization one day.