March 13, 2013, started quite differently than most days. There was a feeling of apprehension because it could be the day that the 50,000th child would be processed through the Maine Child Identification Program. CHIP identification data is collected and provided free of charge to parents whose children participate in the program. 50,000 children. That’s a goodly number of children, and it has taken 14 years to accomplish this feat, an average of 3,572 children a year.
Arriving at the school, I am met by Bro. Scott Cogger, the York Police Resource Officer who has organized this program for the past six years. Without his assistance, organizing a group this large (180), and being able to complete the two day program within the allotted time would not have been possible.
8:05, the school day has started and the first group will begin the program shortly. At 8:14 here they are, all 24 of the first class. If one does the math it is theoretically possible to do this in three hours. Ah, so much for the theoretical. There’s a recess involved here and the children have to eat lunch, and travel to the gym. There are always computer problems to deal with so the three hours can easily stretch to five. Buses leave at 2:15 so we have to be finished before then. The day went remarkably smoothly and we were through this first day’s program with time to spare. There were 151 York children ID’d today, so that leaves 41 to go tomorrow to reach the milestone of 50,000. On to day two.
With 17 children in each class it meant that if every child was in attendance, the milestone would occur in the third class. Since this was an auspicious occasion for the Child ID Program it was only appropriate to invite the Grand Master to be on hand to congratulate the child. M.W. Brother Ross arrived at 10:15 just as the third class entered the gym. He didn’t need to wait long to witness the event, and Sophia Blake became the 50,000th child identified in the Maine CHIP. Congratulations are in order to all the coordinators who have worked so hard to make CHIP such a tremendous success. 100,000 here we come!
by Wor. Wendell Graham Maine CHIP Chairman