One of my first trips as a tour leader was to Israel in Nov. 2009. Several members of our church had grandchildren in our youth program that seemed to be getting increasingly anxious as the time drew near for their beloved grandparents to leave. After all, to a 5 year old two weeks was a very long time.
Our Youth Teacher, Jessica said that they should do a Flat Stanley project so that although the children could not go personally, the grandparents always carried a reminder of them on the trip. The idea was to take pictures of the children doing things and seeing things alongside their grandparents and church friends. The above picture is Jerry taking Flat Joe with him on our safari to Kenya. Seems like both Joe and Jerry had a great time!
Flat Stanley began as a series of books by author Jeff Brown. The story tells of Stanley Lambchop being flattened in an accident and then was able to travel the world in suitcases, envelopes and more. From the story, the Flat Stanley Project was born in 1995 when Canadian elementary school teacher Dale Hubert used the travels of Stanley to encourage reading and interest in geography and travel in his third grade students.
Since that time, the Sunday before our annual trip, we always have a special moment to confer the Flat Joe’s, Emma’s, Lannie’s, Sheylah’s, David’s, Rachel’s and more upon the travelers. Through the power of Facebook and increased iphoneography, we picture the kids in all sorts of exotic places, believing that one day, they too, will go to those very places and see it for themselves.
In 2016, the symbol of Tulsa, the Golden Driller turned 50 and the local paper held a contest to have the driller travel the world. Our group won honorable mention for our efforts. Today the Flat Driller is as much a part of our travels as our suitcases.