Smiles, Smiles and More Smiles!

Everyone was smiling!  Thank you again and again to the many caring donors and volunteers who made our St. Leo Children's Event possible. By all accounts, it was indeed a huge success! The children of St. Leo’s had a blast, and it simply could not have happened without your bountiful generosity!

Children of all ages, from babes in arms to grandparents, enjoyed an unforgettable day, filled with food, fun and fellowship.  A very diverse crowd of over 250 people from St. Leo’s, including Guatemalans, Burundis, German Americans, Italian Americans, African Americans, old-timers, new-comers, donors, volunteers, neighbors, friends and relatives attended the party.  It was an amazing opportunity for many of our parishioners to experience for the very first time, the absolute joy of petting a camel, riding a pony, playing carnival games, tasting cotton candy and dancing to a DJ!

Smiles were everywhere as St. Leo’s young children and as well as St. Leo’s children at heart enjoyed a fabulous catered luncheon; a delicious ice cream dessert; music and dancing led by a professional DJ; a petting zoo including a camel, a pig, a joey (baby kangaroo), a llama, chickens, and pony rides; a balloon artist; and a popcorn and cotton candy stand.  “Kid”-hearted volunteers ran carnival-type games complete with prizes for all.  The children themselves organized their own pick-up soccer game! 

The picnic was held at Maple Ridge Lodge, a beautiful venue that provided tables and chairs for visiting and eating, a large serving area and restroom facilities.  The lodge also features a huge wrap around patio that provided ample space for dancing, dining, and a half a dozen carnival games.  There is also an enormous field that was used for the petting zoo, pony rides, badminton/volleyball, soccer and water play.

We are grateful also for St. Leo’s youth group who arrived early in the morning to help set up the tables and chairs indoors and out, laid out the table covers and fanciful table decorations.  They also assembled the carnival games, as well as put up the badminton/volleyball net, and improvised a very clever home-made slip and slide. At the end of the day, they also helped clean it all up and put it all way.

All of us at St. Leo’s are so very grateful.  The kid in each and every one of us thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.  We’re still talking about all the fun.  And, we’re still smiling!

-Casey Betz