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I've been watching the circus of the San Antonio Pagan Pride Day on Yahoo Groups for a few weeks now and if nothing else, it reinforces my thought that the local community sucks.

Pagan Pride Day is supposed to take place in the Fall, sometime around the Autumn Equinox. Its meant to a public showing of ourselves...community outreach, de-mystifying ourselves to the general population, etc.

Last year there was all sorts of drama involved with the Coordinator and a local coven. The coven was sponsoring a fundraiser in the form of a raffle. PPD isnt free...there's space to rent, a security guard to pay for, food/beverages and all that. And being that Pagans are notoriously broke, it was clear the money necessary to pull off PPD was not going to come from our own purses, hence the fundraiser. Somehow the Coordinator decided she was going to use the money raised for something else...and the coven who sponsored this raffle was understandably angry about it. It was shady, it was full of drama and hate and ended with the coven publicly giving the Coordinator and PPD a big fuck you.

You would think there would be someone new as Coordinator this year, right?

Oh no. Same lady. More shady shit this year!

This year's great fundraising idea was a Midsummer's Ball. This was decided back in like...January. And on paper, it seemed like a good idea. It was supposed to be for Pagans and the general public (in keeping with the spirit of PPD). Unfortunately, they did NO advertising. None. Hell, I didnt start hearing anyone talk about the Ball until roughly a month before it was supposed to happen! So when they came within a week of the event and had only sold FOUR tickets...the event was cancelled. So long, fundraiser!

The Coordinator posted a bunch of pics on the local site that were supposedly from last year's PPD. Only, they werent. They were actually pictures from a private event the "angry Coven" from last year held. The pics heavily featured children. The Coven politely asked that the pictures be removed from the site. Seems reasonable enough: the pics are NOT of PPD. The Coven pointed out that as a parent, Coordinator had to respect another parent's wishes in not having a child's image plastered all over the Internets for some group's advertising. Coordinator completely ignored the request. And THREE other requests. It wasnt until someone got bitchy about the photos that she decided to speak up about it. And of course, that was snarky.

She made the comment that if you arent out of the closet, then you shouldnt attend PPD at all. That got EVERYONE pissed off because the whole purpose behind PPD is being able to attend whether you are Pagan or not, closeted or not. Community outreach, remember? Coordinator never retracted her statement, never apologized for it either.

Coordinator regularly pops off with snippy, rude remarks to people in the group, especially when people are asking legitimate questions that need answers. And heaven forbid your opinion is different than hers! She'll bitch you out, then tell you to take the conversation off-list. Oh ok, so you can rip into people publicly, thus displaying your superiority...and then you can send the bad little Pagan to her room for a time-out where you'll presumably do more bitching? Classy, lady...oh so classy.

Several questions people have are blatantly ignored. Important questions pertaining to actually running said event. Like, how much $ do we have in the bank for this? Who is doing advertising - and what is being done? Who is running certain important committees? And what progress is being made in those committees? Late last week a number got dropped. They need $850 for the space and the security guard. If we dont cough up that money asap, the event will be cancelled.

So let me get this straight. The event is roughly 2 months away and you need close to a Grand and you've done NOTHING to get that money all year long? And you STILL aren't advertising this event in any way?

One of the volunteer coordinators said something about this in her private Facebook. Coordinator lady took said posting and made it public to the PPD list, bitching out said volunteer for her opinion. It was tacky and childish, something I'm seeing regularly from this stupid Coordinator. Predictably, the posting created a shitstorm all weekend long. Most of the volunteers that were helping organize this fiasco have quit in disgust (including the co-chair). Not just over the latest flame war, they are disgusted with the way the whole thing has been done (or not done as the case may be)

Its downright pathetic if you ask me. San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States and we have a large, diverse Pagan population. And yet the majority of the "public" Pagans in this area are snooty, catty bitches who cant play nice with anyone - including themselves. Worse, when they do get someone with brains and a willingness to volunteer, they refuse to cooperate with that person - because they CLEARLY know best, what with how wildly successful their events have been. Gee, no wonder we are all apathetic and lazy! As much as I am willing and able to volunteer and help out, I absolutely refuse to deal with those people. Maybe next year someone will get smart and take over because as long as that crazy woman is in charge it will be nothing but a Clusterfuck Circus.

Goodie...another year, another lame excuse for San Antonio's Pagan Pride Day.
dydan: (Default)
Today we celebrated Jared's brother's birthday. Asa is 20 now, but still a kid at heart. It took a bit of coordination, but Jared was able to get the day off work so we could go to what I think is probably the most brilliant business model of an amusement park I've ever seen.

Behold, MORGAN'S WONDERLAND! Its not the size of Disney, or Sea World or any of the big flashy amusement parks. At 25 acres, I'd call it cozy. There are so many awesome things about this place I dont even know where to begin.

I did manage to take a few pictures here and there with my phone. The stream can be found HERE

How often are the disabled excluded from the fun of an amusement park? This is a park designed 100% for disabled kids of all ages (even us big kids). The rides are all wheelchair accessible so that nobody is left out. Unlike a mainstream amusement park, admission to Morgan's Wonderland requires a reservation. Bloody brilliant, if you ask me! No overcrowding, no waiting for ANYTHING which is great when you have a severely autistic kid like Asa who isnt always patient about waiting his turn. To be able to bring a disabled child along with their entire family/caretakers at an extremely affordable price is no doubt a godsend for people who probably spend a king's ransom in medical bills.

I was impressed before we even got into the park by what I think is the greatest invention to mankind. Everyone in your party wears a wristband with a GPS tracker. There are stations scattered all over the park where you can have your wristband "read" by the scanner. This way, if you are separated from your party, you can simply scan and instantly see where every member of your party is. Whoever thought of that should be hailed as a God among men because that's amazingly handy! Even a large park like Sea World could utilize that...hell, charge tourists a "rental fee" for the convenience of the wristband and the investment would pay itself off pretty darn quick!

The entire park is almost completely devoid of the retail trappings that, in my opinion, take away from the "fun" of going to an amusement park. There were no crappy food stands. There were vending machines that dispensed soda and water and tons of water fountains. There was only 1 gift shop that I saw and it carried very little touristy junk. There are ample picnic areas and you are allowed to bring in your own food and beverages. There were other families celebrating birthdays that came laden down with coolers and wheels and assorted presents. The staff there actually came out and helped them into a side entrance so they could set up their little area. It nearly made me cry to see such genuine care the staff gave to that family.

We started out at the great staple of amusement parks: the carousel. Their website doesnt say who designed it but the artistry of the creatures was just beautiful. There wasnt a single creature that I didnt like. Some of the horses have high back seats to accommodate kids needing that extra support. The bench seats even go up and down so the wheelchair-bound can have fun too! Asa sat on a bench with Aimee and his mom while Jared and I sat in the next set of benches a few rows up.

We didnt last long. Asa wasnt too keen on the carousel. When he started to shriek I asked Jared if that was a "I'm having fun" shriek or a "DEAR GOD SOMEONE SAVE ME" shriek. Jared said it started out as a "I'm not sure about this" shriek that quickly turned into the "I'm getting off this contraption NOW" shriek. For a kid who doesnt speak, Asa is pretty direct in how he communicates. I applaud anyone willing to spend the time trying to interpret how he sees the world. Sometimes Asa is a complete mystery to me. Other times, I find his sense of humor to be brilliantly hilarious. He pretty much won me over the day he tried to show me to the front door at Grandma's house for daring to ask him to share his M&M's.

Funny thing about the carousel. Later in the afternoon Asa decided on his own to go back on it. He still shrieked, but it was definitely less panicked and more exuberant. Good for him!

My favorite attraction, hands down, was The Sensory Village. Aside from the allure of sweet, blessed air conditioning (curse you, Texas heat!) I could have spent all afternoon here. One room had a series of large screens with digital art that was interactive. On the floor was what looked like a tranquil pond. When you stepped on it, the water would ripple and then beautiful, colorful flowers would blossom around your footsteps along with pretty little dragonflies! We were all amazed by it, especially Asa. He plopped right down in the middle of the pond, slapping at the screen to make it change under his hand.

There were tons of play areas full of things to climb around on and play with. We sat out there for a while to do some people watching. There was a cute little blond girl in a cheery yellow outfit running all over the Butterfly Playground with the biggest grin on her face. All of the play areas have a nifty kind of rubberized flooring. It was comfortable and easy to walk on, yet had enough give to cushion anyone's fall.

There was a huge pond in one area with an elaborate pavilion. One end had remote control boats, the other had water cannons. In the middle was a place where folks could fish for catfish and bass. Its catch and release only, but that was pretty cool of them to have something like that.

I dont know who does their hiring, but they deserve a pat on the back for the staff. Every single person I encountered today was extremely nice. I'm not talking "pretend to be nice so the boss shuts up" nice...I'm talking genuinely nice people who are happy to be doing whatever job they are doing. Even the ride operators were friendly and chatty with everyone. It created a nice, friendly, relaxed family atmosphere that rubs off on the guests. There was no pushing to get to the front of the line, no ugly outbursts of people with entitlement issues. Even the volunteers were into the whole spirit of including everyone. None of them were bashful about interacting with Asa, which was really cute to see.

Win win WIN! This place rocks. We're a little sunburned and exhausted from the heat, but we had a fantastic time. I am thoroughly impressed about this place and I hope the people who are behind Morgan's Wonderland become fantastically rich from what they've created. Its obvious that everyone there truly believes in the mission. That's so rare to see these days that I'm bookmarking the website just to see if some nifty position opens up that might be up my alley. Maybe some day they'll have a need for a creative thinker like myself! Haha, hire me!

Happy Birthday Asa!

P.S. Our present to him was his favorite! Yay!

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dydan

November 2012

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