Spring is (sort of) in the air, and that means our Work to Play soccer teams and Play with Potential recesses have finally moved back outside. Last Saturday, a group of 20 adults met 20 Lawndale Community Academy (LCA) students for the inaugural Lawndale Field Day. The LCA students at the event were celebrating a successful year in Urban Initiatives’ sports-based youth development programs. The morning was gray and cool, but that didn’t stop the big and little kids from teaming up for a day of fun and games!
“The goal for the event was to bring together people from across the city–people who have lived in Chicago for their entire lives and people who are still relatively new–and introduce them to some of the great kids and families who call Lawndale home,” said David Grass, a longtime Urban Initiatives supporter and organizer of the event. “We’re out here playing games and making new friends.”
After breaking the ice with a few quick games of dodgeball, the grownups and kids split into smaller teams and started testing their athleticism in a variety of field day events. Teams zig-zagged through cones in an epic relay consisting of a sack race, egg-in-spoon carry, and three-legged race; they competed in Bridge Ball, an Urban Initiatives staff favorite that takes a lot of hand-eye coordination and leg strength; and they did their best to stay dry in a team game of water balloon toss. As the groups rotated through different recess stations, it was hard to tell whether the children or the adults were having a better time.
“Look around,” said Lindsay Hearn, a member of the event’s planning committee. “This is such a great cause. Everyone is laughing and having a great time. You can see how excited the kids are to be outside and running around.”
After a morning of high energy, sweaty fun, Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives’ Co-Founder and Executive Director, and the LCA kids led the adults on a tour of Lawndale Academy before breaking for lunch.
“We all spent the morning throwing water balloons, running around, and being kids,” Dower said. “Playing games is something kids do naturally, but too often in Chicago, they don’t have the space or the opportunity to do so. Our programming is intentionally designed to engage children around sport and play. We’re teaching teamwork, sportsmanship, and other positive, pro-social behaviors they will need to succeed in the classroom, on the field, and at home.”
Lawndale Field Day was a massive success, and we can’t thank David Grass, Principal Willette, the staff at LCA, and the incredible host committee for making the event happen. We’re already looking forward to the Second Annual Lawndale Field Day!