#513. A Very Magical Christmas for Some Spokane Area Kids

Posted on | The Agurban

A Very Magical Christmas for Some Spokane Area Kids

We always look forward to Mike Flynn’s blog Flynn’s Harp. We felt that his recent post, Alaska’s North Pole Flight is Christmas Magic to Spokane Kids,  was perfect for our Christmas edition of The Agurban.

For Steve Paul, bringing the Magic of Christmas to a group of about 60 Spokane-area homeless and foster children in the form of a flight to the North Pole is a year-round focus that he undertook 14 years ago to “use the power of Santa and Christmas to bring an over-the-top memory for kids usually consumed with worry.”

But the added factor that ensures success of the annual Fantasy Flight is the Magic Dust of human caring and compassion that spreads over all those involved with the event, starting with Alaska Airlines, which makes a jetliner and crew and employees of both Alaska and Horizon Air available.

So on Saturday, December 13th, 65 children, aged 4 to 10, selected by shelters and community programs in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, boarded the Alaska 737-900ER at Spokane International Airport, accompanied by their personal elves, for the approximately half-hour flight to the North Pole. Alaska flight 1225, which upon takeoff becomes Santa 1, is guided by Paul who, for the day, becomes Bernie, the head Elf.

This is the eighth year that Alaska has operated the flight for Northwest North Pole Adventures.

As the flight nears its conclusion, the passengers are told to pull the window shades down and chant the magic words that will allow them to land at the North Pole. Then the plane lands on the other side of the Spokane airport to be greeted by Santa, Mrs. Clause, extra elves and a few live reindeer. A key moment of magic occurs for each child when they have their personal visit with Santa.

“I know I can’t fix the situations in life that have brought these children to the place we find them,” Paul explains. “But I can give them a brain full of amazingly magical memories of a day when they took their first airplane ride, when they touched their first reindeer and had their own elf as best friend.”

Or as Paul sums it up for the longer-term perspective: “My hope is that the children leave with a stronger sense of belief, not only in the magic of Christmas but in themselves and the possibility of positive things in their future.”

Mike Flynn is retired publisher of Puget Sound Business Journal and, in addition to his consulting business, Mike Flynn & Associates, writes a weekly email column and blog called Flynn’s Harp. He is reachable at mike@emikeflynn.com.