Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grown-up children's programs

For several years, Riddick's Folly has offered children's programming focused on the American Girl book series. These programs exposed young girls to the life and lifestyles of their counterparts throughout American history. Now, after hundreds of girls learned lasting and meaningful lessons, Riddick's Folly bids adieu to the American Girl program.

This isn't to say that there will be no more children's programming at Riddick's Folly. On the contrary, next year's calendar has more children's events than ever before. The question is, if the American Girl programs were so popular and so successful, why change?

The reason is relevance. The mission of Riddick's Folly is to provide a tangible link to our community's history through the portrayal of the 19th century Riddick family home. While one or two of the American Girl characters fit rather nicely into our mission, most do not. And none, as you can imagine, are related to the Riddicks.

Instead, we've come up with a series of new programs tailored not just to young girls, but also to young boys, oft neglected by Riddick's Folly in previous years. These programs will be no less inspirational or substantial. Their relevance to our mission, and the variety of their content make them more impactful than anything we've tried before.

We start next year with a tea for the ladies, hosted by Mrs. Mary Taylor Riddick. She will entertain the ladies, teach them the history of tea, talk about life and literature of the early to mid-19th century, and allow plenty of time for socializing.

Mr. Mills Riddick hosts a similar session for young men with coffee and desserts, and a conversation about the roles of young men in the same time period.

In the summer, we offer a day-long experience for boys and girls exploring in greater detail the games, lessons, and lifestyles of boys and girls around the time of the Civil War. We hope to offer this as part of a rotating camp with the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, the Suffolk Art League, and the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

In the fall, boys and girls, and men and women alike will be invited to attend a mixed cotillion, the ultimate venue for learning "proper" social interactions with the opposite sex. We will give lessons during the day on 19th century dancing and etiquette, and in the evening, all are welcome to attend the cotillion to show what they have learned, and to enjoy each other's company.

We will also host an 1860s picnic for families. Period cooking techniques will be on display, and parents and children can enjoy the party atmosphere.

And for the braver children, Edgar Allan Poe will visit Riddick's Folly in October to tell some of his darkest tales in the spirit of Halloween.

So as we say goodbye to the American Girls, we welcome children back to Riddick's Folly to see more, do more, and learn more about their community's history in the 19th century.

Be sure to check out our website as our new events will be listed soon.

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