They say that company and fish start to smell after three days. But that's not the case when the company is Flat Stanley. The Flat Stanley Project is a program used in many schools to help build literacy skills and teach kids more about geography.
Kids in classrooms create a Flat Stanley character and send him by mail to family and friends around the country or around the world. He stays anywhere from a week to several weeks at each stop. Along the way, Flat Stanley is photographed by those he visits and the photos are sent to the class to see the fun he's having.
Near the end of the school year, Flat Stanley returns to his origin, having experienced many things along the way. The students write about Flat Stanley's travels, looking up the places he's been to learn more about the country or the world.
In October 2012, Flat Stanley arrived at our home, sent by my niece who lives in Kansas. He'd already been to my older sister's home in Kansas City. Although we didn't go on a big trip while Flat Stanley was here, we did explore the city of Lynchburg and the surrounding area.
Flat Stanley arrived just in the for the annual Walk to End Alzheimers. After the walk, we stopped at a local bakery to pick up some cookies and pastries.
During October, we also visited a corn maze with one of my daughters and her children. Flat Stanley went through the maze and rode on a hay ride before sitting down to a treat of fried oreos, every child's dream.
We visited the small town of Altavista and checked out the Scarecrow Stroll. Downtown stores created scarecrows that were related to each store and displayed the scarecrows for all to see.
We figured out that Flat Stanley was afraid of Halloween when the decorations started getting put out and Flat Stanley disappeared. We searched everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found. After all of the ghosts, witches and goblins vanished, Flat Stanley turned up, hiding in my car.
Flat Stanley attended a football game at Liberty University, enjoying halftime in the club room, courtesy of my husband's employer. We also visited the other two colleges in town, Lynchburg College and Randolph College, during Flat Stanley's visit.
During November, we attended the annual Lynchburg Exchange Club's Pancake Jamboree, held at City Armory in downtown Lynchburg. Former Mayor Joan Foster let Flat Stanley help her flip pancakes while we were there.
While we were downtown, we walked around, checking out the sites. We visited City Hall, Monument Terrace, the Riverwalk section of the James River Heritage Trail, Amazement Square, the local children's museum and Percival's Island Natural Area.
We also took a driving tour through Lynchburg's Historic District to see Point of Honor, the historic 1800s Federal mansion which was home to Dr. George Cabell. After our driving tour, we headed to the Lynchburg Dog Park, located beside Blackwater Creek.
Flat Stanley was a little afraid of the bigger dogs, so we walked on the Blackwater Creek trail for a while. We visited Riverside Park to see the new accessible Play Core playground. Flat Stanley enjoyed the train climbing structure and tried out the drum wall and the slide.
On Thanksgiving, Flat Stanley went with us to the annual Turkey Trot, held in downtown Lynchburg. After the Turkey Trot, we headed home for Thanksgiving dinner, attended by our kids and grandkids.
Flat Stanley helped with Christmas Shopping on Black Friday and helped put up our Christmas tree on my birthday in early December. Then it was time for Flat Stanley to find adventure somewhere else. We had a great time hosting Flat Stanley and the grandkids enjoyed sharing adventures with him.
Although we didn't go anywhere of major significance while Flat Stanley was here, I took him to most of the places I would take any other visitor and we enjoyed family dinners with the kids and grandkids. We ate at several local restaurants including La Carreta, a family favorite, and enjoyed the Pizza Hut lunch buffet.
We also walked on the Blackwater Creek Bikeway, my favorite walking trail, and took part in a walk to raise money for Alzheimers and the Turkey Trot to benefit Presbyterian Homes and Family Services, a local ministry. We took Flat Stanley to church to meet some of our friends, too.
Although I hated to see him go, I packed Flat Stanley along with a couple of Flat Stanley books I'd found into a Christmas package heading to Colorado, where my younger brother lives with his wife and three children. The adventures continue for Flat Stanley, who will eventually return home to my niece in Kansas later this year.
You can read about Monument Terrace, Point of Honor, the local hiking trails and parks and many of the places we visited at the Discover Lynchburg tourist website. You can see some of our adventures in the slide show.
You will find more information about the Flat Stanley Project, the Exchange Club's Pancake Jamboree and Lynchburg's Play Core playground in the articles below.