January 26 – Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement

Posted on January 26, 2018

This unique-sounding special day has a very unique backstory:

Once upon a time, a man named Ralph C. Morrison read an article that mentioned Toad Hollow Country School. This school was located in the charmingly named Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Even though it's the name Kalamazoo that makes me sit up, take notice, and smile, it was the name "Toad Hollow" that caught Morrison's fancy. He loved the name.

Morrison was a teacher and a storyteller, and soon he had created several stories that happened, he said, in a place called Toad Hollow. When people asked where Toad Hollow was, Morrison always answered, "It can only be found in your heart."

The Kalamazoo Country officials offered Morrison a place for his storytelling, in a park that was rarely used. He agreed and started a non-profit group to build an 1800's pioneer homestead and town in the park - which of course he called Toad Hollow.

Toad Hollow became a place where wonderful events and historical reenactments and fun classes were held. 

There were Renaissance Faires. There were Civil War reenactments. 

There were classes on everything from blacksmithing and quilting to soap and candle making. 

The people who ran the park and taught the classes were volunteers. But...this was Toad Hollow we're talking about, so those volunteers were called Voluntoads!

Unfortunately, the county took back the park just three years later. The buildings were donated to historic organizations and museums. But the Voluntoads just changed a few things about Toad Hollow - like going back to the concept of it being, not a physical place, but a place in all of our hearts. And the Voluntoads started teaching the classes to kids in nearby schools. They did storytelling, writing, and barbecuing at the schools as well.

Why did so many people volunteer their time? They loved sharing things that they knew and enjoyed with others. So that's what this day is all about - encouraging EVERYBODY to share what they know, to expose others to what they love, to volunteer, to teach or help others! 

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