Harvest Time at the Wynne Home

By Morgan Robertson

This past weekend was rather eventful for the LEAP Ambassadors, and on Saturday evening Jessica and I volunteered at the Wynne Home Arts & Visitor Center Harvest Festival.  We arrived a few hours early before the event to assist with a fall festival at the beautiful historic home and art center. Inside the outdoor classroom, Cultural Services Manager Sarah Faulkner and Admin Assistant Caitlin King had begun to set up the food, which included a candy bar, pita chips with an assortment of hummus, and Frito Lay Scoops for chili from McAlister’s. After we were satisfied with the display of the food, we began setting up the drinks table, craft tables and all other decorations that needed to be placed on the yard.

Needless to say that The Wynne Home’s beautiful backyard was fully utilized during the Harvest Festival, with the two craft tables set up in the yard and dispersed lawn chairs for the crowd that came to listen to musician Scott Morrison.

He presented a variety of songs by different musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and more for the crowd to choose from. The crowd loved him and were appreciative of Scott for allowing them to choose what song he should play next.

 The first craft table included mini-foam pumpkins where guests, mainly the children, could express their artistic abilities by painting and adding stickers to them.

The other craft required a little bit more attention to detail and more fine motor skills since they had to trace a leaf pattern onto festive paper, cut it out and then decorate it with glitter and stickers using mod-podge. Then if desired, the leaves could be hole-punched and strung on a twine string to be displayed as a garland decoration, or an ornament.

All of the LEAP Ambassadors as well as SHSU student Erin Juarez, made their own leaves and connected them on a string. The Wynne Home kept our leaves and said that they would hang them up inside the home! I can imagine Ms. Stephanie or Professor Yawn having a laugh while trying to identify which leaf belonged to whom if they were to see them hung up.

Before the event wrapped up, Ms. Faulkner and Caitlin drew out a name from the raffle bowl to see who would be walking away with a fall-themed coffee basket. To add to the suspense, they had Scott announce the winner, but he did not announce it right away. Instead he told the crowd that in his hand he was holding the name of the winner but would not announce it until after he played another song. At the end of the song, he announced that the lucky winner was SHSU Geology Professor David Moss. Afterwards, he continued to play more songs and closed with one of his favorite songs, during which the children of professor Moss came up and donated money in his guitar case.

It was a fun way to spend our Saturday evening, and we are glad we were able to help the community and Ms. Faulkner.

Volunteer Service is a Wynne-Win!

On Saturday, June 27, the LEAP Ambassadors drove in from most parts of Texas to help out our adopted community of Huntsville. One of us drove from San Antonio, one drove from Tyler, one drove from Houston. Our destination was the Wynne Home, for an afternoon of painting and cleaning.

To build some energy, we stopped by the friendly and local confines of Mr. Hamburger, where some of had our first taste of this local favorite. We enjoyed the burgers and shakes!

Apart from exploring local culinary options, our mission today was to help out at the Wynne Home. The Wynne Home has a staff of 2.5 employees, and is, therefore, heavily reliant on volunteers. And in this regard, the Wynne Home is a hub of sorts in the community. The Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America assists the Wynne Home with its Ella Ruth Herb and Children’s Sensory gardens, the Friends of the Wynne support the arts at the Wynne Home (and in the community), and numerous citizens volunteer their time to serve on the Wynne Homes committees. So, it was an honor to help out by doing some touch-up painting in the children’s garden and some basic cleaning.

The Children’s Sensory Garden has a number of plants, and students are invited to touch, smell, taste, and even hear the plants and each of those sensory sections.

Among those plants are stones for hopscotch, and these were a little worse for the wear.

Hopscotch stones for the Wynne Home's Sensory Children's Garden.

Concrete mushrooms also grow throughout the garden, and these, too, had seen better days.

With improvement in mind, we tackled the easy ones first: the stones.

Intern Sebastian Morales paints at the Wynne Home.

The colors chosen by the Wynne Home staff were vivid, and even with just the first coat of paint, the colors were popping.

Although the temperature was only 93, it seemed much warmer. We estimated the humidity to be approximately 4,000,000, and so an unexpected challenge was having our sweat drip into the paint and dilute the colors. Fortunately, the Ms. Sarah Faulkner kept us hydrated, and we continued to plug away.

We quickly learned who was in the best shape, and to protect reputations, we will not discuss this matter further. Although we would note that we had to help Professor Yawn up the Wynne Home stairs after about an hour…

One of the nice things about painting is that it provide some immediate gratification, as you see the designs take shape and the colors become more vivid.

Following the painting, we turned our attention to the Wynne Home sign up front, which had weathered snow, ice, heat, humidity, and high winds, just in the last six months!

After much scrubbing, we were happy with the new-ish look, and we at times felt we were in the clouds!

It was a wonderful day. The Wynne Home was beautiful prior to the touchups, and we felt we had a little role in beautifying it further!