First the good bits. It was helpful to have a theme. Making any quilt can be overwhelming as the possibilities are endless. A theme helps to narrow it down. It was also fun seeing how the different kids responded to the same theme.
It was also good to have a deadline. Having a specific completion date helped to focus our time and energy. Life is busy and the daily demands of living can often get in the way of spending time on what is important. Finally, it was good to commit ourselves to doing something worthwhile. Spending time together working on the quilt was great. And we had something brilliant to keep at the end of the project.
Now for the not so good bits. The kids were so excited packing the quilt and sending it off to the quilt competition. But unless they won, they never heard back. So it was like sending their quilt off in to the void. This was a major disappointment especially for the little kids. The older kids were able to be more philosophical about the whole thing. One of the older kids did place in the competition, but the prize was some thread - a pretty big let down for a 13 year old. All in all. the competition part of the experience was negative enough for the kids not to want to do it again.
What would make it better?
Little kids need a different approach than grown ups. I think for the younger kids our real goal is to spark their interest in quilting. This would be more successfully accomplished if there were lots of little prizes instead of just one or two big ones. Best use of colour, most humorous, most adventurous, best technique, best hand quilted, best machine quilted, most innovative interpretation of theme I could go on and on. If all entries got some appreciation for their effort they would be much more inclined to go on and enter again.
Lastly. teenagers need cool prizes. Thread doesn't cut it. All the prizes ought to be something they'd be thrilled to win and not embarrassed to mention to their friends. I'd be very interested for some comments on this one. Has anyone else had similar or different experiences with kids quilts competitions?