2016 Blog Entries

An Englishman in Anchorage (channeling Sting) personal perspective on Alaska Flag Day

An Englishman in Anchorage (channeling Sting) personal perspective on Alaska Flag Day

Having worked at AK Child & Family for 17 years I’ve attended a number of Alaska Flag Day events in a variety of capacities. As I reflect back on those years I continue to marvel at how meaningful the event is to so many people. As a Psychiatric Treatment Counselor (direct-care staff) my first Alaska Flag Day’s were generally spent supervising students, working the game-stations, and helping out wherever a need arose, and answering questions. In those years where I wasn’t ‘on the clock’ for the main event, and co-workers were covering direct supervision responsibilities, it was a great opportunity to mingle with the crowd a little more and gradually, over the years, it became very apparent just how many people valued the event. Kids and families (whether served directly by the agency or not) were able to let their hair down, have fun, enjoy the festivities, get away from everyday stressors for an evening, and also learn more about our agency’s commitment to trauma informed care and mental health wellness. Of the hundreds of attendees every year there are always many, many familiar faces.

As I moved into more administrative roles my participation changed a little. Since others now had the responsibility and opportunity to directly supervise students I became more involved in the behind the scenes work. Whether charged with filling hundreds of helium balloons accompanied by raucous laughter from Residential Supervisor Shelly, emptying trash throughout the evening, or taking photographs to document preparation efforts and capture the main event, patterns emerged time and again: there are so many staff, family members, friends of AK Child & Family, volunteers, and board members who work so hard to put together Alaska Flag Day. Their efforts demonstrate the sense of teamwork that is paramount to organizing large scale events and seeing everyone pulling in the same direction to achieve goals is inspiring and gratifying. Alaska Flag Day wouldn’t be as successful were it not for these efforts.

My perspective shared here only touches on the myriad of paths crisscrossing along the way to the event-planning summit and there could certainly be much more written on the intricacies of Alaska Flag Day preparation, certainly thanks provided to volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and perhaps even a student perspective or two in the run up to Alaska Flag Day (Saturday July 9th, 2016). What strikes me about my own experiences with summer fetes in England and events like Alaska Flag Day are the similarities: Dedicated and passionate people working together to strengthen community ties; Passionate people with a desire to improve lives; Celebration with kids and families; Devoted people working in unison to craft and create enjoyment for others. In a nutshell, getting together - it’s jolly good old-fashioned fun.

We hope that you’ll join us this year for great food, live music, games, prizes, and fun for the whole family!