"Big Four" Highlights


 

‘Advent Adventure’

Family produces Catholic web resources for children

Lights, cameras, action – it’s time for the “Advent Adventure” web-based videos with the Davison family. Follow the eight children daily as they explain, live out and act out different aspects of Advent and help families prepare for the Christmas season.

The father behind the fun and faithful “Adventure” is Ken Davison Jr., who also produces the Holy Heroes series of CDs in which the lives of saints are dramatized. A former brand manager at Procter and Gamble, he recently gave up a full-time administration position at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina to devote more time to his growing Holy Heroes business.

He and his wife, Kerri, have been married for 23 years and have eight home-schooled “Holy Heroes” of their own:  Virginia (18), Clara (15), Margaret (13), Ken III (11), Anna (9), Therese (8), Lillian (6), Caroline (4). Fathers for Good spoke with Davison as the family prepared to post its latest “Advent Adventure.”

Fathers for Good: Your kids have become twice yearly internet stars, at Advent and Lent. How did it all start?

Davison: “Advent Adventure” started in 2008 with the germ of the idea being mine. My idea was to have a free offering that would be “fun, free, and easy-for-Mom” to encourage families to have a fruitful Advent.

I envisioned three short videos a week, a decade of the Rosary to pray along with, and a coloring page for the littlest ones to download. I thought my kids could explain things about Advent that many Catholics don’t understand but which would help families make Advent a time of preparation for Christmas instead of an over-scheduled frenzy of parties and gift-buying. Our kids could offer some “positive peer-pressure” for families with children seeing other Catholic kids explaining how to live Advent as Catholics and having fun doing so.

But the kids and my wife really ran with it and turned it into an every-day-but Sunday series of daily activities e-mails loaded with multiple short videos, crosswords, word searches, quizzes, downloads of prayers and blessings and other great Catholic Advent info – and, yes, lots of fun coloring pages for the littlest ones.

After that first year of “Advent Adventure” we added “Lenten Adventure” and “Summer Faith Adventure” (a free online weeklong Catholic Vacation Faith Camp – complete with snacks and games to play), simply because so many parents asked for us to! We have over 6,500 families registered so far this year for Advent Adventure, and there’s a fun little video giving a glimpse of what we’re doing this year at AdventAdventure.com.

FFG: What kind of preparation goes on before?

Davison: From mid-November into early December each year, the videotaping time reduces our home school days – so everyone works really hard in September and October to get ahead, because we still need to end the semester on time!

It is a big effort, with plenty of research, including having all the scripts reviewed for theological accuracy by Father Juan Diego Brunetta, former Director of the Catholic Information Service for the Knights of Columbus. As a convert who entered the Church in 1998, I’ve learned a lot from all this work!

Over the years, the kids have all taken a larger part in the “Adventures,” from writing to recording to actually editing the videos and testing the quizzes. This year, with “Advent Adventure” introducing a focus on the Mass with the new English translation, our eldest daughter, Virginia, researched and wrote our newest “Glory Stories” CD that includes the new Mass responses and lots of other great explanations and instructions about how to pray the Mass. She wrote a companion children's prayer book and the scripts for the “Adventure” videos on the new Mass translation, too.

FFG: What is Holy Heroes?

Davison: The mission of Holy Heroes is “to help parents bring the joy of the faith to their families.” We try to engage children’s imaginations with great Catholic stories. In addition to the Advent, Lenten, and Summer Adventures, we do this through an emphasis on the stories from Scripture in our Holy Heroes branded products, such as the Jesse Tree, or through our series of audio CDs for the Rosary (a Scriptural Rosary lead by children, so children hear the actual record of the mysteries from Scripture) or the Stations of the Cross.

EWTN has played our Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross the past two years as part of their Good Friday afternoon programming on their worldwide radio and shortwave network. We have companion coloring books to engage the whole family while everyone can listen together.

We also produce “Glory Stories” audio CDs, which tell the stories of the saints for children to hear and identify with.  We recently remastered and re-released a CD containing the stories of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and Saint Miguel de la Mora, one of the six Knights of Columbus priests who have been canonized. These are fun stories which illustrate a catechetical point about the faith through the true stories of the saints. Glory Stories, volume 9, was just released last week, and Blessed John Paul II (volume 11) is nearing completion.