On a sunny, cool, and breezy Sunday afternoon in May, 249 children began to descend on Sugar Hollow Park, for the fourth annual Kids Fun Day in the Park event, sponsored by the Bristol Church Pathfinder Club in Tenn.
What was the big attraction? There were many options, including the opportunity to learn new things, taste different kinds of healthy food, and have fun with one of the five big attractions-a climbing wall, bungee jumping, face-painting, a timed obstacle course, and an inflatable jumping house. The plan was simple, go through four of the learning centers, get a stamp in your passport, and then enjoy one of the fun activities.
The learning centers were fun in themselves: community firefighters with a big truck, EMT's giving demonstrations, a Kids Health Zone with delicious snacks, fluffy service dogs, each child’s name printed in Braille, blood pressure checks, the town sheriff making picture IDs with fingerprints, a nature booth, and musical bells, to name a few. There was also a table with free spiritual literature for children and adults. Some five hundred pieces of literature and books were eagerly accepted.
This popular community outreach activity was coordinated by the Bristol Pathfinder Club director, Gary Johnson. Every summer for many years, Johnson, a retired Botanist, has gone to Romania to conduct training classes for Pathfinder clubs. One year he returned from Romania with a neat idea for reaching the community—the kids fun day. He decided to implement the idea and found ready support from the church members and a delighted response from the community. A total of about five hundred adults, moms and dads, grandparents, and siblings, came with their children this year. It was the largest group to attend the Kids Fun Day ever.
Johnson lines up the vendors months in advance. Many are volunteers but some are paid. He then takes printed brochures to the local schools, public and private, and asks them to distribute the brochures to the children. Most are happy to help get the word out. Church members enthusiastically help with set-up, registration, food and drink stations, manning some of the booths, and clean up.
As the last of the visitors to the Kids Fun Day were making their way out of the park, the staff paused to thank God for His blessing of safety on the many who came and the lives that were influenced. Next year the conference health department is scheduled to conduct a kids fitness booth to emphasize the importance of exercise, flexibility, and stamina.
by Paull Dixon, pastor Briston Church in Tenn.