Happy First Day of Spring

Before we get into the highlights of what has happened since our last update we want to make sure you have all registered for the Coming Together Hunger Conference. We are co-hosting with the Food Bank of Delaware and are SUPER excited about this year’s event! We are anticipating nearly 200 students to attend for the Kid Track, but we are hoping all of you will attend on the adult side. Don’t worry, even the adults will have a chance to see what the kids are doing throughout the day.

Coming Together will feature both an adult track and kids’ track, with opportunities for both groups to come together to identify solutions to issues related to hunger.

I promise you that you will leave feeling inspired and you will learn something. Plus I would like to see you out, because you know we can only end hunger if we do it together.

Okay so what have we been up to since our last post. A LOT! You know we say that every time. Haha.

There have been a few code purples called in Delaware. We thought our winter had been mild and really it has been but the last couple weeks of winter went out in style bringing us frigid temperatures snow and even an ice storm! It was beautiful, but it was also really bad news for my friends without addresses.

We had a table at the 1st Annual Christina School District Family Resource Fair which was a big success. Many people came out to see what the community has to offer and we heard that the New Castle County library exhibit handed out over 100 new library cards to people! That is VERY COOL! I couldn’t be there for the event so my family helped out. My brother and sister, Finn and Amelia, they set up the table and they were happy to be able to support 3B. Plus they got to eat pretzels and have their face painted!

Town Square Delaware wrote an article about me. Ms. Christy Fleming came to visit me at my house and she interviewed me. It was nice to meet her and I appreciate that she wanted to know more about Brae’s Brown Bags. Ms. Fleming’s article shares how 3B has grown, “3B Brae’s Brown Bags helps get healthy snacks to the homeless and the needy. But it takes lots of time and coordination, and Brae now also counts on donations by schoolmates and others who read his blog because the charity has gotten so big.”

I was able to be a speaker at the annual Delaware FFA Convention earlier this month. It was nice to see a room full of students who care about agriculture and who realize that food insecurity is a solvable problem. They packed almost 500 bags of healthy food for people in need. We brought some home and the rest remained in the Kent County area to help any shelters who might needs extra supplies.

I found out that I am  a recipient of a 2017 Sodexo Foundation – STOP Hunger Youth Grant! This makes me very happy because it helps to keep 3B sustainable, but it also helps to show other kids that there are organizations out there who believe in them and believe that we are change makers. The Sodexo Foundation and STOP Hunger are empowering, they not only want to help end hunger but they also want to get kids involved and I am glad I can be one of those champions.

Last but definitely not least. I took a trip with my Mom up to New York to attend the Jefferson Awards Foundation annual gala at Gotham Hall. Yes, it sounds like something right out of Batman and yes I do think that is really cool. It was super fancy. There were a lot of incredible people there and all of them believe in public service, it was super inspiring to be a part of the event. I feel very honored that I was able to receive an activation award (Newark Post) on the same stage as Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez and the great musician/social activist Harry Belafonte. Plus, I encourage all of you to look into the national LEAD360 winner for 2017! Her name is Emma Stumpf and she creates art kits to give to patients in children’s hospitals. She knows what it is like to be stuck in the walls of a hospital for long periods of time as she is fighting cancer and has been for many years. I didn’t get to meet her at the event because she was in the hospital having just come through her 17th brain surgery. She is definitely a huge inspiration! I hope you are willing to help her activate this project and help it to put smiles on the faces of kids across the country. I think it will be fun to help her with this project!

It’s almost Summer, so much to smile about #TEDxWilmington

It’s not that I don’t like school. I mean I do like some school. But this week is my last week of 6th grade and I’m ready, I’m so ready for summer vacation! I was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School which is cool. Middle school wasn’t super easy but I made a lot of great new friends. There’s a couple people I play Minecraft online with sometimes and that’s a lot of fun for me. I’m ready for a break from school, for time to swim and have fun.

stannes

2nd graders and me at St. Anne’s Episcopal School

So I wanted to share with you about the 2nd graders at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware. They held a used book sale and made a profit of $1,500. They chose to donate this money to Brae’s Brown Bags! They worked together as a team. They did marketing, sales, accounting, communications, etc. They worked VERY hard and it shows in how much they were able to raise. I had a chance to quickly visit with some of them and hear what they did. They presented me with a check and I sat with them and we had a quick Q& A. They are some pretty incredible students and I’m honored they chose 3B as a cause they wanted to support.

tedxwilmingtonAlso, I’ll be giving a Tedx Talk in Wilmington this Summer and I’m feeling nervous. Over 100 people applied and they chose me to be one of the speakers. I will be talking about Brae’s Brown Bags but also just about some things I notice now that I am out and about and learning. I think it should be a really good talk, it’s called “A Boy, A Brown Bag and a Tidal Wave of Change.” I hope you can come see me and the other people who will be there speaking. There are some really great topics. You can get tickets on eventbrite.

In a couple weeks I’m going to a music camp at the University of Delaware. It’s a Steel Drum and Afro-Caribbean Drumming Camp. I’ve been taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory so I’m excited!

93.7 WSTW has confirmed they will be attending our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration and I’m so happy about that news!

As of this date we  have not yet received any sponsor applications for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Please consider joining forces with 3B for what is our biggest and only annual  event to help share our mission with our community and raise funds to help keep us as self-sustained as possible.

 

LA, Ag Day, MOT, 3B Summer, what’s happening? #the3bway

And sooooo wow it is May 5th already. I’ll be done 6th grade in about a month. Time flies.

Me with Gwen Stefani and Whitney Stewart

Me with Gwen Stefani and Whitney Stewart

For those of you who do not follow me on social media (and you should!) then you might not know all of the details of my trip to Los Angeles. I did receive a Disney Hero for Change Award and I did talk in front of 7,000 people and I did learn to use a teleprompter which I really liked and I wish my Mom could have one with us all the time!

The end of the red carpet walk

The end of the red carpet walk

The Radio Disney Music Awards was a lot of fun and I know I will remember it forever. I made a new friend in Whitney Stewart who was the other award winner. She was very nice and I can tell she really enjoys being a leader with the Boys & Girls Club. I was able to meet Gwen Stefani and she is very nice. She kept saying that she didn’t think she did well when she received her award and I think she is crazy. Her speech was very nice and she spoke from her heart. So if Gwen ever reads this I hope she knows she is being too hard on herself.

I got to walk on the red carpet before the event. That was a lot different than I thought it would be. Some of the actors and actresses were being yelled at to look at different cameras. They must have been really important but I wouldn’t want to be yelled at. The red carpet is very long and even though you get announced at the beginning one at a time it still gets really crowded. There were A LOT OF cameras!

Backstage I got to talk with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight and have my picture take with a bunch of people. And a dog, a Pomeranian which really looked like a toy but it wasn’t a toy it was real. There was an after party where people did a lot of dancing and jumping and I ate not one but two cookies on a stick. That’s right. Cookies on a stick. It is a genius idea.

This award is a really big honor and I am very humbled to have been chosen.

I couldn’t do everything I am doing with 3B without all of the people who encourage me every day.

Like my Mom. And that is why I am so happy she is also being recognized for all she does for 3B.

MOT Charter

MOT Charter

Calvary Baptist Youth Group

Calvary Baptist Youth Group

So in the last couple of weeks I have also had a chance to talk with two groups of students about 3B and food insecurity and how they can help. I went to MOT Charter and talked with all of their 2nd graders and then I went to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark to talk with their youth group. I think my favorite part is when I get asked questions. At MOT Charter I think every student wanted to ask questions. They were so excited. They have packed bags in the past for 3B to give out during the winter months which was very helpful. The youth group at Calvary Baptist packed 50 bags just last night and they seemed to really enjoy helping out. I hope I am able to work with both of these groups again.

YouDee mascot with 3B bag

YouDee mascot with 3B bag

My Gram and Pop Pop were at the Ag Day event for me. They said there were a lot of people and it was a great turn out. My Gram said a lot of people knew about 3B and other people were excited to learn more, especially about the 3B Ripple Student Chapters. She said everyone took something like a pen or a brochure. I am sorry I missed Ag Day because it is always a lot of fun and I like seeing people at the University of Delaware because a lot of the students have had events with me and they stop by to say hi.

There are a couple other events coming up which will be fun but I will talk about them later.

We also just announced our SAVE THE DATE for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. It will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Location to be announced. Mr. Graham, my art teacher from when I was in elementary school at Keene Elementary, he is designing the artwork for the event. That’s pretty cool. So please put it on your calendar and I hope to meet all of you there!

Radio Disney here I come #RDMA

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I am writing this in the Philadelphia airport. My mom and I are heading to Los Angeles to attend the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater.

It seems like most of my trips where I find myself waiting for a plane or a train are sort of like a dream. Am I really here? Are we really going to meet Gwen Stefani? Is this really happening?

Even though it takes a lot of time I really am happy about what I am doing with 3B. I really like helping people and knowing that people are being fed; healthy food.

And it’s an honor to be receiving the Disney Hero for Change Award but I would be doing what I do even without awards. That’s not why I’m doing it, that’s not how it started. It started because when I was 9 and we drove by an old homeless man and I was so sad and I knew I had to do something to help.

And then I realized everyone can help! Maybe they don’t realize it. So I’m getting lots of other people to volunteer with me. Recruiting other kids and now I’ve activated over 2,500 volunteers, maybe more! So sometimes near where I live we might see a homeless person and they already have a 3B bag. I can provide more and I do but I know other people in the community are giving, too.

You should watch Sunday, May 1 at 7pm on the Disney Channel.

Congrats to Whitney who is receiving a Disney Hero for Change Award with me this weekend at the Radio Disney Music Awards. It will be nice to meet you.

MLK Day is a National Day of Service #MLKDay

martin-luther-king-jr-day-a-day-on-not-a-day-offToday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and so it only makes sense that it is also a National Day of Service. Martin Luther King, Jr. did so much every day of his life to help others reach equality. I’d like to think on a smaller level I’m trying to help people be more equal, too. I think we should all have equal access to healthy food. It shouldn’t matter how much money you make, you should be able to eat healthy and live healthy.

So on this day of service my friends at the Jefferson Awards Foundation packed 58 bags which will be delivered to Friendship House’s Women’s Shelter on 7th & Orange Streets in Wilmington, Delaware. I’m very grateful to them, especially Michele Fidance who set it all up.

Then I got a chance to meet some teen leaders at the Boys & Girls Club Greater Newark. Ms. Amber invited me and my family to participate in their day of service. I brought some bags with me (18 to be exact) and we stopped by a few fire stations and by the troop 2 state police station. We thanked the fire fighters and officers for their service. I gave them bags to have on hand in case they meet someone in need. My brother and sister were excited to be part of this and they colored pictures to give them. My sister was especially happy to sit in a fire truck! She said, “Mom am I going to go save people now?”

So it was a day off of school but a day ON for service. We’ve prepared 25 more bags for a code purple tonight hosted at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. There was one last night, too, at Holy Family Church and my Mom delivered for me solo because I wasn’t home yet from my weekend with my dad.

From Delaware to DC my State of the Union trip

That's me at the State of the Union

That’s me at the State of the Union

I went back to school today after being in Washington, DC for the last three days. I need to write a paper about my experience but I thought I’d try and tell a little bit on my blog first.

As you probably know, I had the honor of going to President Obama’s last State of the Union address. Why? Well because the First Lady Michelle Obama asked me to be her guest. I know! It was a really big surprise and I was very excited, I’m still very excited. It all happened so fast and to be honest with you I’m still trying to really think about it all.

At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.

At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.

There have been so many people who have started to follow me on social media and also here on my blog. I even got some emails from people. Most people have been so nice about everything. A lot of people have said they are inspired by what I am doing and they think I’m a special person. I have been called a hunger activist and a hunger warrior. Some people have said they felt bad because I looked so tired on TV at the State of the Union and I was, I mean I was very tired, but I was also very happy to be there. And what you didn’t get to see is that after the address I got to go in a different room and meet with the President. He shook my hand and he asked how the foundation is doing. The President and the First Lady both said they were inspired by me. I think that is very surprising. I mean I am proud of myself but I am really proud of them I really think they are great people and I am so happy I got to go to the White House again and got to go to the State of the Union.

I'm bottom right next to Mrs. Edith

I’m bottom right next to Mrs. Edith Childs

Some of the speech I didn’t really understand but there was also part where the President talked about how the US went to the moon. My Mom has said this to me before, she has said that people didn’t always believe they could go to the moon and they thought it was crazy. But then we did, we did go to the moon, we walked on the moon. I think he President was trying to say that impossible things are very possible. But I think he was also saying we need to believe in ourselves and in each other and work together. And I do that, all of us who volunteer with Brae’s Brown Bags or with other advocacy things we all do that every day. We just need more people to stand up for each other and be there for each other. We have to work together as a family and family doesn’t just have to be your Mom or your Dad it can be your friends and your neighbors. And I think he talked about equality. Because he says that everyone should be able to get a good education and have good health care and that everyone should feel they are heard.

Me with Senator Carper

Me with Senator Carper

Other really nice people I got to meet were Secretary Tom Vilsack who gave me his challenge coin and talked with me about Brae’s Brown Bags and told me about he started working with the USDA. Under Secretary Kevin Concannon who talked with me about the hunger conference I co-hosted. He had been a speaker at it but he never got to see the kid part of the conference so I filled him in. And also Senator Tom Carper who told me all about being in the Navy and his family and his favorite sandwich and even chickens. Did you know Sussex County in Delaware grows the most chickens in the whole country? He took me over to the Capitol Building and I got to eat lunch there. All of the staff at all of these places were super nice and welcoming.

Senator Kid Daily Show

Senator Kid Daily Show

And then a show called The Daily Show kind of made fun of the State of the Union because I guess that is what they do. I don’t really get it BUT they called me Senator Kid and when my Mom showed me a picture it was pretty funny. I admit it, I laughed. It was pretty funny to see him dance and sing Senator Kid with my tired face on the screen. Ohhhhh the stories I will be able to tell someday.

And I really like Washington, DC. It is fun. I like to walk places and you don’t really get a chance to do that in Delaware. I think I might move there someday.

For now, I’m going to finish playing an Xbox game with my brother and then go to bed, I have school in the morning.

I am very thankful

So I’ve been meaning to write a blog post and I know I keep saying I will write more, but you know, it gets really busy!

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness WeekFirst thing is that this is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and I think that is important to mention. And I think that maybe as we are at the end of the week you can think about how you have reached out to help someone in need. Have you packed a brown bag lately and given it to someone on the street? Let us know! And share other acts of kindness you have been able to do. Because really every little thing helps, even a friendly smile.

There were two really cool events recently that I want to tell you about.

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Cara’s Dad, Miriam the Executive Director of K4C, Laya, Taylor and the amazing brother/sister cello players Noah and Sydney of From the Top and me, I’m sort of in the middle.

The Karma for Cara Foundation has a fundraiser in Owings Mill, Maryland at Cave’s Valley Golf Club on Friday, November 13, 2015. I went with my Mom and I was asked to talk a little bit about what I am doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. Because Karma for Cara gave me one of my first see grants and that will always make me very thankful.

Karma for Cara is in honor of 21-year-old Cara Becker. In 2012 Cara passed away with leukemia and because service was always important to her she has asked her family to find away to continue getting people involved in service to help others. I mean that is just really so nice!

We met other people there who are also going really inspiring things in their community. Laya who helps homeless in Baltimore County by give them trail mix and trying to encourage young kids to be more aware of the homelessness. She is awesome. We also met Taylor and she has a project called “For the Love of Erica” which she started when her friend Erica died of cancer. She donates toys to children in hospitals and throws them parties!

Then on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, it was National Philanthropy Day. And if you don’t know, philanthropy is this idea that you should be a giving person and not just like on one day but every single day. So it was really a great honor when I was asked to talk on a panel called “Youth Transforming our Global Community.”

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Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck, Anegliz Merroro, Braeden Mannering (me) and our moderator Sarah Driscoll.

The panel also had Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck and Anegliz Merroro on it. So Grace has a program called “Let the Kids Play” and it’s just really, really cool.  She raises money to help inner city kids get sports and be involved in sports programs at their school. And then Nik, he has a program called “Running the World for Children” and he literally RUNS THE WORLD, he has done marathons on seven different continents. He is going to run a race in every single state in the US too and you can help him accomplish this goal, so check out his website. Last but not least is Anegliz Merroro and she has taken over Instgram with her anti-bullying ideas. She shared a very sad story about a mentally challenged person being beaten up and she said people didn’t talk about it and that people need to talk about it and know it is happening so we can make it stop.

 

22752810797_5a8a446c19_kSo not only did I enjoy talking and presenting, but I also made new friends and I think they are doing really good things.

And then to make it even more awesome they gave me an award! Caitlin Custer at the Food Bank of Delaware nominated me for a Rising Star in Youth Philanthropy and they picked me! So they showed a little clip about me and they gave me a really heavy award and it is very nice! I am so thankful for all of this, for the new friends and the new inspiration and the award, it’s really so cool and I feel very thankful and lucky!

And just in case I don’t get to write again before next week, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for my family and friends, and I consider all of you who read this my extended set of family and friends!

Quick update: Please read our post on Facebook about homeless funding being at risk in Delaware. And let us know your ideas on how we can fix this situation.

Small Town Big Deal and then even more big deals

Well friends, I turned 12! We got to go to an arcade for my birthday. I played laser tag and games, it was fun. I also got to go on a haunted hay ride and shoot paint balls at zombies which I thought was really fun. And I had red velvet cupcakes.

I’ve been really busy and have not been writing a lot like I said I would, but being busy is good.

smalltownbigdealLast week I got to spend time with the hosts and film crew for a show called “Small Town Big Deal” which was really fun. I mean it was a long day but they were really nice. The hosts of the show are Rodney Miller and Jann Carl. They were both really nice and they seem to like diving into projects because by the end of the day they could pack a Brae’s Brown Bag in their sleep I think.

They were interviewed on the radio on WJBR and you can hear their interview here, it’s very nice and they say nice things about me and also about Delaware. Thank you!

I think that the show will air sometime soon and I will let you know when it does.

You can find out more about Small Town Big Deal here:

STBD on YouTube
STBD on Facebook
STBD on Twitter

Also Mr. Jeff Gentry included a line about Brae’s Brown Bags is his most recent “Only in Delaware” column which was very nice of him.

I posted on Facebook this week asking people to pack a brown bag and bring it with them during their weekend travels. 19 people shared it! That means a lot of people might have packed a bag and kept it with them to give to someone in need. Did you? newsomatic-braedenPlease tell us about it!

World Food Day was on October 16, 2015. I didn’t get to really be a part of it too much by doing something out in the community but I did have my story featured on News-O-Matic to promote World Food Day which is pretty cool.

We got to be sponsors for the Waffle Cone Run which Caffe Gelato hosted to raise money for the Newark Empowerment Center. But then we couldn’t go to it because my brother and sister were sick, but it was still a really good cause and I am sure it was a great event!

And we got a digital copy of an article that the Charlotte Sun wrote after our trip to Florida earlier this month. If you want to read it I think it’s a really great article.

CharlotteSun-Braedenarticle

And then other big news is that my Mom, she helps me run 3B, she was named a top 10 Mover & Shaker in Delaware. I think that is really cool because I nominated her and she didn’t know. And I also think it is really cool because I was named one of the top 10 last year.

Happy Friday, here’s a 3B update for you #the3bway

cnn-braedenI am officially a middle schooler. I started 6th grade at Gauger-Cobbs this week. Our mascot is a cobra. I am going to try out for soccer next week. I’m really excited about that, I’ve been wanting to play soccer. I have a locker and we change classes. I have four minutes in between each class. There are A LOT of people in school. So far all my teachers are really nice and I like it.

Yesterday, there was an article that went onto the CNN Health website about young chefs who are paying it forward. It talked about me and also my friend Haile Thomas. Haile started the HAPPY Organization. She travels to teach kids about living and eating healthy. She is a really great chef and she won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge in 2012.   She’s really cool and we even had her and her Mom come out to Delaware in May because I knew she would be the perfect person to show the kids at the hunger conference how simple it is for them to make healthy snacks all on their own.

3b-ripplesAlso this week my Mom finished up the application for the 3B Ripples Student Chapters program. I came up with this idea for a couple reasons. One because I really want to be able to reach more people in need and I know I can’t do it by myself. But I also really think that other kids probably like to help and to give just like me. And I think that maybe having something in school to help them get into volunteering will make them feel happier and make them look forward to something else in school.

I also found out that I am receiving a special Rising Star in Philanthropy award in November. My friend Caitlin Custer who works at the Food Bank of Delaware, she nominated me and I am so very happy that I was picked for this award. It’s exciting. It makes me feel good that she thought of me and that the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) also thinks that I am a rising star. I will also be on a panel to talk to people about philanthropy on November 17 at the Chase Center. You should come if you can. NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY 2015

lindaprickett-braedenmannering-animalsThere’s a very nice lady named Linda Prickett she works at Waters (Alfred G.) Middle School in Middletown. She gave me bags of stuffed animals, Beanie Babies, to give to kids in need. I can add them to my 3B bags as an extra surprise for kids I meet at the soup kitchens. I think this will be perfect for the holiday season. I am very excited to be able to give out the animals.

And I would also like to thank Wells Fargo in Wilmington and Ms. Meredith for helping to collect school supplies for us to add to bags. Thanks to family and friends and Wells Fargo we were able to give out over 50 back packs with healthy snacks and school supplies to schools this Summer.

menuTwo more things, okay maybe three more things or four…

One is that the Big Fish Grill in Glenn Mills, PA is donating to 3B Brae’s Brown Bags this month as part of their Women & Wine night. We had a fundraiser with them last year, too. They make REALLY yummy food! Like really! And it’s not just for women, anyone can go and enjoy the menu. This year they are even including a really delicious sounding dessert with candy in it!

I’m going to visit the Sunday Breakfast Mission in a couple weeks because I want to be able to partner with them and give them 3B bags and stuff for them to use and give out. I am happy to be able to work with them and I have bags to bring with me, too.

MASVNHealthFairOn October 4, 2015 I’ll be at the Glasgow Park as a sponsor for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Vascular Nursing Health Fair which also has a 5K. You should come to the fair and even sign up for the 5K! All participants will receive a t-shirt and YAY the 3B logo will be on the back.

My Mom and I are flying to Florida on October 1st to meet the great people at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. They invited me to come talk to all the students about Brae’s Brown Bags and also about service and food insecurity. I’m pretty excited about it 🙂

So I think that is everything. I hope you all have a really great weekend. I’m pretty excited it’s a 3-day weekend. Happy Labor Day!

Oh the places I do go

flounderI know I promised to update more but it turns out that Summer is pretty busy. It’s a good thing to be busy though. My Mom and Gram have me doing my summer reading and I have a STEM project to complete for school. But it’s not all that type of busy it’s also fun busy, too. My family and I went to Fenwick Island beach for a week. My Grandmom and Grandpop and Aunt Kristin were there also so it was a lot of people. When we went for breakfast on our last day we needed a table for 8! We had fun and even went fishing. I had never been fishing before. I caught a flounder! My brother Finnegan caught a croaker.

So I’m helping with the Summer Meals program. I also visited the Emmanuel Dining Room before leaving on vacation because I had not been there in a little while and I needed to see everyone. I saw Tony and it was good. I didn’t see Miss Mary though. We gave out 70 bags and a lot of books!

southbridge-neighborhood-houseI went to the Neighborhood House in Southbridge in Wilmington. I got to be part of a special event there. I had a table with my information. We let everyone take home a bag so they could give it to someone in need. I hope they found out that it is nice to give.

We’re getting extra busy with the 3B Summer Celebration planning. All the decorations came in the mail. We also just found out that the Kona Snow Ice truck will be coming!!! AND AND AND We have some really cool silent auction and raffle items. If you like sports, like Blue Hens or Eagles… and if you like water parks you definitely need to come to the event. Because the things we have for people to win are super fun!