It was early Saturday afternoon and our first-ever Big Dream Summit was winding down. After a full morning of roundtable discussions, prayer, workshops, dancing and collective dreaming, our volunteers were enjoying a much-deserved (and mighty delicious) lunch courtesy of Earth to Table Bread Bar. For most of the diners, this marked the end of their CityKidz day.
But for a small and determined group, this was only a brief interlude. This was just a brief pause before the day’s next chapter of fun, games and community engagement. Still snacking their last bites of pizza, a handful of youth volunteers and staff gathered together in CityKidz parking lot.
After a huddle and a prayer, the group split up onto three buses and drove off to launch our first-ever series of bus parties in parks across the city.
Beasley, Belmont, Sam Manson Bus Parties
The idea behind this springtime initiative was to get back to our roots. We were on a mission to bring CityKidz into the community. We wanted to introduce ourselves to new families and invite new faces into the CityKidz family. Our hope was to bring a little preview of fun to come in our upcoming spring program season.
Though a messy snowstorm had blanketed the city just days earlier, the weather was on our side with crystal skies and dazzling sunshine. A giant thermos kept hot chocolate flowing as staff and volunteers connected with new and familiar faces in the community.
But nothing shone brighter or brought more warmth to the day than the Saturday Squad of youth volunteers. They were kind, caring, patient, enthusiastic and encouraging in every interaction with the kids who flocked to our corner of the parks. The quality of their character beamed as they led neighbourhood kids in games of basketball, relay races and jump rope. Neighbourhood kids delighted in their presence and the seemingly endless stream of games and excitement.
“This feels like CityKidz,” said one boy in between rounds of Bus Challenge games. And, with that, we knew we had accomplished our mission.