The German Family Society's “Kindergruppe” is a children's folkdance group presently consisting of approximately 35 girls and boys ranging in ages from 4 to 7 years. The “Kindergruppe” has weekly dance practices that are held inside the main clubhouse on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm, typically lasting for only one hour, followed by a short social “fun-time”.
In the years past, the” Kindergruppe” has performed at many of the German Family Society's events such as the “Old European Festival”, the “Oktoberfest”, and at the German-American Day Celebration (a more formal dance held inside the ballroom). We also entertained for the club’s annual “Mother's Day” and “Christmas” programs, where the children sing and recite poems often in the German language. The “Kindergruppe” also enjoyed performing at locations other than the GFS, such as at area nursing homes, numerous church sponsored events, and even for the “Oktoberfest” at the Geauga Lake Amusement Park.
Having fun is always a priority with our “Kindergruppe”, but we also hope to teach our youth about their heritage and culture. This is accomplished not only through traditional song and dance but also with occasional German language lessons taught during our practices. We do, however, realize that the “Kindergruppe” members are very young, so we try not to overwhelm them. Currently we are instructing them in translating items like colors and numbers, and teaching them how to say “hello”, “good-bye”, and most importantly “please” and “thank-you” in the German language. Aside from dance practices, the “Kindergruppe” also sponsors many social events with parties at Valentine's Day, a traditional egg hunt at Easter with a special appearance of the “Easter-Bunny”, at Halloween we have a costume party, and at Christmas there are gifts given by our own St. Nicholas (Santa Claus).
In 2019 we hope to continue to keep the kids engaged as our oldest ones will be sticking around for one more year with us. We hope to work with the older children on more complex dances and fine tuning their skills, while continuing to teach our newest and littlest members the basic 1-2-3 polka step and dance moves. The kids are regularly taught "big ones find a little one (new one)". Meaning our older children help with teaching the younger ones the dances. We teach them at a young age to take care of one another. Then when they move up to the Jr. Youth Group, we like to remind them that they are once again the student, learning from an older teacher. That is the way our group, and the way our club, has stayed alive for so long. By the older generations taking the time to teach the younger ones. It may not always be easy, maybe a little stressful, but to see the younger ones grow in the culture is so worth it!
The “Kindergruppe” accepts new members whose parents and families appreciate and understand our objectives (a child does not have to be of direct “German” decent).
If you have a child or family interested in learning more, please call Liz Miller (330) 494-0877 or Katrina Marmaduke (330) 696-4762