C5 Visits Propel Northside
Our preparation for the Propel Northside Back-to-School Carnival started roughly one month before the event. Our team’s creative guru, Giselle, led a brainstorming process where we planned some potential carnival games that we could tie to COVID-19 education. After a productive discussion, our group landed on two games: darts and balloons and knocking down cans. With a goal to increase vaccine awareness within our region, the darts were representative of a vaccine, or syringe, that was popping the COVID balloons. To reinforce other pandemic prevention safety measures, Mackenzie came up with the canned food game. The pyramid of cans would represent a group of humans or their immune systems. Participants would throw a ball, a COVID virus, from various distances that were representative of proper physical distancing. The closer you are to other people, or the cans, the more likely you are to knock their immune systems down.
These games came together just a couple days before the event. We spent the better part of a Thursday afternoon getting our creative juices flowing and making appealing games for all the kids who would be there. Glitter, markers, stickers, and paint. We used it all to decorate poster boards, soup cans, and targets to create an engaging and interactive activity for the kids. The only thing left to do was go to the event.
The Carnival Success
I arrived early to the event to make sure we had everything we needed and were set up in time for the flocks of children who would later arrive. We were ready to take on the day. But as it often goes, even the best laid plans can go awry. Sarah showed up shortly after bearing some bad news: we had no coloring books. What were we supposed to give these kids if we couldn’t give them our COVID coloring books made by yep, you guessed it, our creative guru, Giselle? We had a quick team huddle and decided on a new course of action. In order to ensure our COVID safety messaging was delivered, we would have to emphasize the key takeaways from each of our games and make sure to have thoughtful conversations with each child. Luckily, this was the only mishap of the day. We set up our table with informational flyers, email sign-up sheets, and little free items. Our games were set up at the far side of the parking lot, right on top of the hill that led directly to the busy street below – this would prove interesting for the bean bags that were thrown in the canned food game.
As soon as the kids finished their hot dogs and picked up their school supplies, they started flowing into our games. One by one, they threw darts at the balloons and bean bags at the cans. Every kid was a winner and left with at least one freeze pop, even if it wasn’t frozen. The games proved to be a big success with multiple kids winning the game, getting their prize, and immediately returning to line. This was our group’s first major public event, and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Going into this event, we knew we needed to collect emails that would be used for our newsletter email list. It was quickly evident that we probably wouldn’t get very many emails by just collecting those that stopped by our table. Mackenzie and I decided to act and walked our sign-up list around to each organization’s table or group of people. At each table, we gave them a synopsis of our AmeriCorps group and Coro program goals. We encouraged them to sign up for our emails to stay up to date with COVID guidelines and our groups events and opportunities. Not only did we end the day with a solid list of emails, but we also got hot dogs for our whole team! Overall, the day was a great success, and we were pleased with the number of individuals we were able to reach.