Reaching Out To Encourage Kids

With less than one day until Camp Fire U.S.A.'s "Absolutely Incredible Kid Day," the University Kiwanis Club of Wichita Falls took part in some letter writing of their own Wednesday, during the organization's weekly meeting, to contribute to the cause. For Kiwanis members, taking part in the campaign made sense because, as representatives told Newschannel 6, "Kiwanis" and "kids" are one in the same.

The Wichita Falls Kiwanis Club President, Jackye Hatley, said, "We're all about giving the kids the hand up to get them, you know, going in the right way in life."

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day is a national annual letter-writing campaign led by Camp Fire U.S.A., that encourages parents and adults alike to voice the love and support they have for their children. March 15, 2012 will mark the 16th year it has been in practice.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom has been a major player and promoter of the event, and said it's all about taking time to let someone know how absolutely incredible they are.

These letters can be powerful and impact the lives of children across the country, Judge Gossom said. "This kinda thing written to a child might make a difference in saying, 'Hey, I am ok. Somebody noticed that.'"

Phil Brooks, a member of the Wichita Falls Kiwanis Club told Newschannel 6 what he wrote in his letter. Brooks said, "I have faith in you. I know you can do things. You got to step out because you're going to be a leader."

So you know though, you don't have to be a kid to get a letter Thursday. Judge Gossom said it's about letting people know how much they are appreciated… at any and all ages. "We're all kids at heart," said Gossom.

The area chapter of Camp Fire U.S.A., the North Texas Council, encouraged Texomans to get involved in the campaign. Representatives from the local chapter said that you can write to your own sons and/or daughters, nieces, nephews, your babysitter, any students you may know; a child in need or one that has been through a tough time, etc. It doesn't matter! Just think about the special little ones in your life, day to day, and take a couple minutes to make a lasting impact on their lives. A few sentences may only take a short time, but the lasting impression a special letter can give a child is worth every minute.

So, remember to give the children in your life a reminder of how much you love them and what they mean to you on Thursday. Stationary and envelopes are available at 2414 Ninth Street. Take part and you're sure to make their day absolutely incredible!

Also, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be the third Tuesday in March in order to celebrate the campaign. You can celebrate incredible kids every day of the year!

"It's great if you write them on March 15, but it's great any day you write somebody and say, 'Hey, I think you're an absolutely incredible kid,' Judge Gossom said.

For more information about the national organization, the campaign, or to get some help writing a letter, visit .

Here are 10 tips to help you start writing your letters:

(these tips are listed on Camp Fire U.S.A.'s website - . You can also find a link to sample letters here, as well)

  1. Getting started can be the toughest part. Form a mental picture of the child and the things that you enjoy or appreciate about the child.
  2. Make a list of adjectives that describe the child: funny, honest, smart, skillful, helpful, caring...
  3. Begin with a favorite poem or a famous quote that has special meaning to you.
  4. Remember fun times or special moments you and the child have shared. Refer to these events and tell the child what you enjoyed about that time.
  5. Be specific and descriptive. Use humor. Try "Do you know what I like about you? I like it when you . . ."
  6. You need not limit yourself to pen and paper. Send an encouraging E-mail, postcard, greeting card, or simply tell the child how you feel, over the phone or face-to-face.
  7. Don't worry about the length and feel free to write it by hand. A short note can be cherished as much as a formal letter.
  8. Include things that you would like to hear in a letter that you might receive. Chances are, the incredible kid you're writing to feels the same!
  9. Be optimistic and future-focused; emphasize positive self-esteem.

10. Write a letter right now!

Visit the website for the North Texas Council of Camp Fire U.S.A. at

Here's a link to the group's Facebook page:

Brittany Glas, Newschannel 6