by Suzanne D. Vicoryosmanson, Director A.U.T.I.S.T.I.C. Kids Autism Awareness and Advocacy
(Reprinted from the December, 2012 Frontier Girls newsletter)
On October 13, 2012 my little family went to our church and spent a couple hours setting up for a Court of Awards for my daughter, Beth. Even though Elizabeth is highly active in Frontier Girls and Girl Scouts and a variety of other groups, she has never had a formal Court of Awards to recognize her achievements. She had helped to plan her ceremony, and was disappointed that every person that she had asked to be a part of it by presenting her awards for different areas had turned her down, but despite that, she was excited because we had invited over 300 people to come, and we expected a big crowd. Beth had been struggling since August, trying to adapt to many changes that had occurred in her school setting and in many other areas of life. It had been a rough few months, and there had been days where I was ready to throw in the towel. It was challenging, to say the least. This was going to be a highlight, a pinnacle event for her, to set the groundwork for excellence in spite of changes. Instead, it all came crashing down.
We decorated, arranged her awards and photographs, set up refreshments and had everything ready. We ran back home and showered, then returned to the church to have the ceremony. We went in, looked everything over to be sure we were ready, and then waited patiently for her family and friends to arrive. The event was scheduled to start at 5 p.m., and we figured people would be coming in just about that time. We waited. And waited. And waited. After almost an hour had passed,well into the time that the ceremony should have been happening, we were forced to face the cold, hard truth: nobody was going to show up. My daughter was nearly in tears, and my mother and I were angry that no one had bothered to take the time for her, when she does so much for our community. It is hard enough to battle individual people, but to see such a lack of support for her on what should have been a big night truly hurt all of us. We determined to make the best of the situation, anyway, and proceeded with her Court of Awards as if we had a packed auditorium.
Afterwards, I had shared with a few Frontier Girls friends on Facebook what had happened, and had told Kerry Cordy as well in an email conversation we had. Everyone expressed thier dismay at what happened and verbal support for Beth. A few days later, Kerry mentioned that someone had sent Beth something in the mail. When a package arrived from her troop a few days later, Beth was thrilled. Then another package came, from another group. Kerry sent a reply to my email stating that the package had arrived: “I’m glad to know the mail has started coming in!” I didn’t understand what that was supposed to mean, but went on about things. Boy, did I get an explanation of that comment! Almost every time I went to pick up the mail for the next few weeks, my mailbox was stuffed. I had little yellow slips each time, requiring me to go up to the front desk and pick up mail that was too big or too much to fit in our tiny box! I would walk out to the truck with my arms full, and my mom (Cool Nana Carol, as she’s called by Beth) would say, “What’s for me?” None of it. Almost every piece of mail was for Beth. Beth was thrilled and excited to recieve so many wonderful, heartwarming, loving cards and letters. She would open every piece, ask me to read it to her, and smile and hug each one. So many people, that we had never even met, took the time to step outside of thier own lives and do something kind for my little girl. My mom and I were stunned, delighted, and absolutely touched by the generosity of the Frontier Girls national sisterhood. The beautiful framed puzzle piece art from Katie Lundquist’s troop in Colorado, designed by Megan, is particularly treasured by us, as it emphasized her niche in the FG world. I see a a difference in her now from before the Court of Awards. She is still struggling at school, but she has a little better grip on things than she did one and a half months ago. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to every one of the people who reached out to her. We don’t do things in a traditional way that most families do, but we do take a moment to acknowledge the blessings in our lives every Thanksgiving, and this year, we added our sisterhood of Frontier Girls to the list. As a mom, it was a blessing to me as well as my child. Thank you, Frontier Girls, for being such wonderful people!