Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement
annually on January 26th
Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement began in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ralph C. Morrison, who taught at a local community college, had an elderly student named Eunice in his class. One day he was reading a story in a local paper which had profiled her. It mentioned the school she had attended while growing up: Toad Hollow Country School. The name of the 1834 schoolhouse, which once stood at the end of Knox Street in Kalamazoo, resonated with Morrison. Being that he was a storyteller, he began incorporating Toad Hollow into his fictional stories. He turned it into a town, and when people would ask him where it was, and he would tell them, "In your heart."
Eventually, Kalamazoo County said he could use a local park to tell his stories. In 1992, he formed a non-profit society to operate the park; it was made up of volunteers called "voluntoads." They built a nineteenth-century homestead and town, and refurbished the already-existing grist mill. They called their creation Toad Hollow. Classes in blacksmithing, quilting, and candle and soap making were held, as were events such as Renaissance Fairs and Civil War reenactments. This lasted just three years when apparently the county took back the land.
The voluntoads went on to teach in nearby schools until 2003, where they shared the arts, knowledge of trades, storytelling, writing, and even did some barbecuing. At some point, the voluntoads also came up with Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement. It stemmed from the idea that they liked sharing what they knew with others, and they thought having the day would help others act in a similar way. The day is for supporting, encouraging, and making heartfelt connections with others, and for sharing "a kind word with your fellow man." It is a day for volunteering, to show others the things you love, and to encourage them to share as well.
The voluntoads also created the Toad Hollow Day of Thank You and the Toad Hollow Week of Encouragement. It is unclear why January 26 was chosen for Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement, but it just so happens to also be the anniversary of when Michigan entered statehood, so that may have something to do with it.
How to Observe Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement
Celebrate the day by sharing about the things you love with others, and encouraging them to share as well. Work to make heartfelt connections with others, and share kind words with them. Do some volunteering, and support and encourage others in any way you can. You could also travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and stop at Scotts Mill Park, where it all started.