Stroke, feather. Stroke, feather.
The River Royals left our inner tubes in Mississippi and hopped in a canoe to paddle the Potomac River recently. Not really. Instead, we enjoyed extra leg room on the front row of a Southwest flight as we flew to Washington, D.C. for a joyous celebration and mini book tour. We also did some "serious" research for our new book, River Royals Paddle the Potomac, while in our nation's capitol.
first order of business
At the top of our list of trip activities was the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Our Military Kids. Target was the presenting sponsor of the celebration, while River Royals was blessed to serve as a secondary sponsor with the Rumsfeld Foundation. Senators, Representatives, families and other honored guests went home with a copy of River Royals Master the Mississippi, OMK bags, rubber bracelets and other patriotic swag.
If you haven't heard of this wonderful organization helping the children of our service men and women through grants for fine arts, tutoring and sports leagues, listen up! In its ten years, Our Military Kids has awarded nearly 50,000 grants totaling $20 million. The program no longer receives any federal funding and is solely financed by corporations, foundations, and private donors - like you and me!
Before River Royals partnered with this charity, I had not thought much about a child's burden of dealing with a parent's military service, both during a parent's deployment and after arriving home (often a very changed person). These little war heroes' stories will bring tears to your eyes, including the ones in the attached press release. OMK's grants help alleviate the (often huge) stress on military children by giving them an enjoyable outlet in which to focus their attention. Sometimes the grants even result in U.S. Olympic gold medals! Remember Gabby Douglas of the 2012 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team? Yep, she's an OMK grant recipient!
second order of business
We can't make a trip to our nation's capitol without sharing our love for America with the smallest River Royals fans! Next up on the agenda were school visits to Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School, Horace Mann Elementary School and Janney Elementary School. We are always fired up to celebrate patriotism, but it's especially exciting when we can see national monuments from classroom windows! In short, we enjoyed wonderful school visits with enthusiastic children in our amazing capitol!
third order of business
We spent the few remaining hours of our adventure in our tennis shoes walking to as many museums, monuments and other main attractions as possible. In the name of research for our next book, we had a blast! Visits to the Smithsonian American History Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the National Mall, the Capitol, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Rosa Mexicano on 7th Street (TWICE for the homemade guacamole) were some of the highlights.
As a result of all that research and feet to the pavement, we completed our manuscript for River Royals Paddle the Potomac! We're so excited about it that we want to share a sneak peek with you ... next time on the blog! Until then, get a little teaser here.