Local Girl Scout Emma Hall brings family fun to Clayton

People seldom equate fun with learning to administer CPR – despite instructors’ insistence that the correct rhythm goes along with the aptly-named, Bee Gees song, “Staying Alive.”

That said, courtesy of local Girl Scout Emma Hall, fun and community activities, including learning about disaster preparedness and hands-only CPR, are going hand-in-hand at the Clayton Family Fair and Picnic on June 29.

There, families from Concord and Clayton are invited to bring a picnic – or grab a meal from a nearby restaurant – and join in with community groups from throughout the area for a free, interactive event in the Grove.

Families can expect free activities such as face painting and balloon animals provided by local Girl Scout troops, a paint-a-rock-like-an-insect activity sponsored by the Clayton Garden Club, a railroad exhibit at the Clayton Historical Museum, and a vintage police car on display. In addition, live music will be performed by groups including Bingo Schmingo, Greg Fogg, and a children’s violin ensemble. The cherry on the sundae of the event’s entertainment will be a demonstration by the Clayton Bikes stunt team at the end of the evening.

The event is the brainchild of both local Girl Scout Emma Hall and Clayton Mayor Julie Pierce.

Pierce made public her desire to plan new family activities after the annual Clayton Counts Down New Year’s Eve event was cancelled in 2012, due to declining attendance. Although not as popular an event as the Concerts in the Grove (which attract thousands of people on Saturday evenings throughout the summer), the absence was felt by many residents.

In response to comments that there was nothing for families to do in Clayton, Pierce put out the word of her desire to plan a new event for families, but said she’d need help to do so.

Meanwhile, Emma Hall, a 15-year old high school freshman, was in search of a community service project to work towards obtaining the prestigious Girl Scouts Gold Award, an honor comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout projects.

According to the Girl Scouts, “this prestigious award challenges you to change the world – or at least your corner of it.”

From serving as a counselor at bible camp, to producing with a friend videos advocating spaying and neutering pets, Emma is no stranger to volunteering. Her work on this scale of an event, however, inspired even the normally unflappable Pierce to describe Hall’s plans as “ambitious.”

“Emma has done all the contacting, persuading, recruiting friends and family, making ‘cold’ calls to interest groups to participate, designed the flyer, mapped the event, logistical planning etc.,” she said.

“She’s learned how complicated a ‘simple’ event can be.”

In producing the fair, Emma, usually a volunteer herself, garnered input from groups throughout the area. Hearing about a need for activities, community groups such as the Clayton Business and Community Association, Clayton Valley Charter High School and the Boy Scouts, among others, stepped forward to offer projects, games and crafts for attendees.

“We’re both so grateful every time someone helps with this project,” said Emma’s mom, Pam Hall. “When the girls came over from the other [Girl Scout] troops, they didn’t have to do it. Just knowing that they were all there, that Emma’s not alone in this thing, that was just a really nice feeling, that they were there to help.”

Now, the only worry on Emma’s mind is whether the event will be a popular one in the community.

“The more people you get involved, the better the party,” said Pam. “ People will know people. I’m hoping and thinking it will be good that way.”

Pierce thinks so too. “It’s a time for the community to gather together and spend some quality time,” she said. “It’ll be good, wholesome family fun.”