“And what a lovely name: Reno!”

If you can finish that scene from the movie Sister Act, I’m sending you a postcard from our tour!

I’m serious. Leave the next line in the comments section below. And then email your address to petethepopcorn@gmail.com. I’ll mail you a postcard.

Reno. I didn’t know a darn thing about this city, aside from the fact that Sister Mary Clarence spent her days here as a lounge singer. Oh, what the heck, why not a quick video?

It’s one of my favorite movies. And several scenes take place in Reno. Forgive me.

Anyway, Reno has inexpensive hotel rooms. So guess where we stayed after driving from Pocatello? Yup!

We ran past the slot machines. Slept. And then took in the obligatory casino-town buffet for breakfast. All in all, it was awesome.

The point of this tour is to read to kids and teach them to encourage each other. This, we have done every single day. But we also want to see this beautiful country. And Reno is a place that is now on my RETURN TO list. I definitely want to come back!

After a needed sleep in Reno, it was off to Carson City for an afternoon reading of Pete the Popcorn. The kids at Fritsch Elementary were awesome and the Principal had to be one of our favorites! She was involved in the assembly, told us great things about her students and led us in the right direction of things to talk about with the kids. It is clear why the children behaved so well, with the excellent direction they receive from their teachers and Principal.

Here is the video from our day in Carson City:

As you can see, we also drove by Lake Tahoe. It was simply stunning. Add another on the list of places to return.

Writing this, I’m sitting in a Hampton Inn in Sacramento, California. Compared to some of the other drives of this trip, today’s was a piece of cake.

This weekend, we are off. And we’re also taking a little break early next week for some fun and exciting stuff.

But I’m most excited about visiting Napa Valley this weekend. It’ll be a quick, introductory trip just like the rest of this tour. But I’m busily scratching things off my bucket list that I didn’t even know were on my bucket list— and that’s a good thing.

Later,

Nick

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

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The Process Behind Encouragement Across America…

I despise “process” stories. I really do.

When it comes to politics, especially. I think stories about “Romney called this press conference at the last minute…” or “Obama moved his speech because of weather or empty seats….” do absolutely nothing for the national discourse. We should be focused on issues and the big pictures.

My current big picture: I’m on a mission to teach kids encouragement. Think about it— I believe we are all hard-wired to be good and kind to each other– we really are. But societal norms have shifted and we now compete, fight, argue and perturb each other to get ahead. Children nowadays don’t inherently know good from bad because they see everything we do– reality television, lying politicians, petty Facebook fights. We have to teach them how to behave… and it’s a drastic switch from the way adults are behaving every day.

As a teacher said to me last week, “the most powerful form of encouragement is a child encouraging another child.” If we get these kids to learn the concept of being nice to each other and helping each other out at a very young age, eventually the chain of encouragement prevails.

I don’t have kids. But I was a child once… and so were you. And, in your heart, you know that encouragement is so very important. So I would appreciate your support. Please jump on board today and help me bring my message of encouragement to a wider audience. Visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com and click on SPONSOR A CHILD.

Now, on to the “process” story… how do you run a national tour? Let’s start with this: this tour is being fully funded by co-author Joe Kelley and myself. Every single penny has come from our bank accounts: gas, freeway tolls, food, hotels, snacks, drinks, coffee (lots of coffee), phone bills, etc.

How do we book the schools? First, we look at the map– we look for school districts in interesting locations, smaller communities, etc. And then we choose three districts to research further. Our goal is to visit a round mix of school districts: ones that are doing very well and others that could use some encouragement. We then contact the district and offer our visits.

Here is where things get tricky: these school districts are simply bombarded with sales calls every single day. So it is extremely hard to convince them that we are the real deal– that we don’t charge the schools anything for our visits. Our funding comes through book sales that may stem from our visit. But we just don’t believe in charging a school a $400, $500 or $600 speaking fee.

After the school is officially booked, it’s our job to follow through. We keep in contact with the Principals, get directions on our handy little iPhones, set everything up at the school (computer, projector, speakers, etc.), count out order forms, take pictures, take video, slap hands with the kiddos, pack everything up, drive to the next school… and do it all over again.

Keep this in mind: we have driven an average of 8 hours each day, in addition to the school visits. Granted, some days have been 14 hours of driving… others have just been a couple. But the average is 8 hours. These blogs and videos we post every day? They don’t write themselves. They don’t edit themselves.

What about laundry? Packing? Keeping the car clean and organized? Nope… no magic elves.

The tour has been simply grueling. But if we can get children to start the chain of encouragement at an early age, it’s all worth it.

Now that you know our process… here is a photo slideshow for you to enjoy… since yesterday was a travel day, this is a great time to show you some of the awesome pictures we’ve snapped along the way.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Nick

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

Epic Road Trip Adventure – DAY ONE!

The Great American Road Trip.

Heading West.

Head out on the Highway.

Whatever you’d like to call it or however you want to relate to it, every single one of us has done it or dreamt of it: driving across the United States. This fall, I have the unique opportunity to make this happen in a very special way.

Yesterday was Day One of our Encouragement Across America Tour. We are the co-authors of bestselling Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn. In the final weeks of the 2011-2012 school year, we read our book to over 10,000 schoolchildren. The experience was thrilling, humbling… amazing. So in order to bring our book to an even wider audience, we are lucky enough to be going on a National Tour.

Almost every day through November 20th, we’ll be visiting schools in different cities criss-crossing the country. Not only will we be reading Pete the Popcorn, we’ll be talking to folks about encouragement. Encouragement is something we all need… and it seems to be especially lacking right now. Our goal is to start the chain of encouragement with children.

We’ve had some fun so far… for instance:

We were able to see the World’s Largest Truckstop! This is where Joe got very upset because the Taco Bell at the World’s Largest Truckstop was only open until 10:00 PM!

We also spent about 5 hours sleeping in a roadside rest area. Scary? Maybe a little. A right of passage for a cross-country trip? Yep.

But the best, most weirdly awesome and strange thing that happened? While crossing the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa… this truck passed us. Not only was it a casket company… Batesville? It just reminded me of Norman Bates from the movie Psycho.

And then once the truck passed, we saw an even better photo opportunity. Sure, they want to sell their product. But they’re much more concerned about our safety. How nice. Again, the truck went barreling past us.

But all was well with the world when we made our first appearance in a school for the 2012-2013 school year. In fact, we read to three schools in one day— all in Des Moines, Iowa’s public schools. I must say that it’s one of the finest school districts we’ve visited since beginning the whole P.E.T.E. project. The staff members were professional, the kids were ready to learn and listen… and the buildings were sparkling.

Here is a video recapping our first day of school visits:

Encouragement. Think about that for a few days… and let us know who encourages you.

To sponsor a child on our tour, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com

Talk to you soon!

Nick and Joe

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com