Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take Your Child to Work Day

The official date of Take Your Children to Work Day for 2012 is April 26. To coincide with spring break, however, I organized the Consulate's first ever TYCTWD on April 11.

It all started like this: one of the FSOs sent me a message saying "Hey, are you planning anything for TYCTWD"? It was 2 weeks prior to what eventually became the date for the event. I hadn't even thought of it. I thought there would be no interest at all - maybe some parents would be interested to bring their kids but none of the staff who would need to help me pull it off would want to take the time out of their busy schedules. We're a very small post - not just in size of personnel but in terms of physical size. No lunchroom. No "grounds". No Marines (most of the fun stuff happens with Marines).

All the other CLOs were talking about it on our listserv as many embassies and the State Department in general take the event very seriously. So I browsed some ideas, talked with some of the staff (ones who have kids of their own were the first as they also had a vested interest in keeping them entertained during the week off) and in 24 hours had put together a small program and sent out the dual-language invitation to all staff to register their children for the event.

I was pretty sure I couldn't handle more than about a dozen kids. In the end I took 14 and we had a wait list half as long. So much for no interest!
There were, as always, a couple of hiccups as I had not communicated clearly what I wanted from everyone. I don't think the kids noticed. One interesting observation - we had 2 main parts of the program: getting fingerprinted with RSO and having a visa interview with Consular. We had split the kids into 2 groups to make it easier to manage and to lessen the downtime for them. In each group, I noted the employees involved in the event were much more "showman-y" with the 2nd time. More relaxed/communicative/did more stuff with them. I think the adults had initially underestimated how interested the kids would be in their jobs.

Heck, I won't even be doing this job next year, but I am already planning how to make next year's event even better (and able to accommodate all the kids who want to come).

Having a visa interview

Getting fingerprinted

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