It was the last CityKidz Saturday of the decade. And it felt like it.
Energy was high. The halls, walls, stages and buses were decked at a level that could surely compete with Santa’s workshop. The jolly old elf himself was waiting in the wings to make a show-stopping appearance. The cast, crew and volunteer team were all clad in their best sleepwear for pajama day.
On the bus to pick up the kids of route 2-1, everyone was excited for this special Saturday. Once everyone was on board, it was time for Arlene, the route captain, to draw names for our route’s representatives for this week’s Bus Challenge (a friendly competition between bus routes that takes place during the Saturday show).
“Anamika and Dremar” called Arlene.
The two were sitting near each other at the back of the bus. They’re both 11, dedicated CityKidz attendees and consistently well-behaved kids. This would be their first opportunity to represent the kids of their route for the Bus Challenge.
After announcing Anamika and Dremar as 2-1’s competitors, Arlene sent a volunteer back to them to give them the run-down of what they were going to have to do to win. They both listened intently as the volunteer told them how they’d need to work together and communicate if they wanted to win; they couldn’t just each do their own thing.
“I know, it’s called collaboration,” says Anamika, knowledgeably.
Once in the theatre, everything was a whirlwind of singing, dancing, whip-cream pies and Epic Tales video segments.
Then, as the first segment of Epic Tales faded out, the thunderous stomp stomp clap of Queen’s We Will Rock You began to rumble over the theatre.
“When I say bus, you say challenge,” called fun host Eveliina, “BUS!”
“CHALLENGE!” the audience chanted back.
Bus Challenge was a much-welcomed chance for some friendly competition between bus routes. The first event was called Seven Second Sillies. To win, everyone from your bus needed to be as silly as possible for seven seconds. Kids wiggled and rocked out and waved their whole bodies like the air-dancers you often see in front of a car wash. For this first competition, Route 14-1 earned boasting rights.
But then it was time for the main competition: a Christmas wrapping race.
Anamika, Dremar and Sarah, avolunteer from Arlene’s bus, made their way to the stage along with trios of challengers from each bus route in the theatre. Their task: to wrap their bus volunteer from head to toe with wrapping paper in just one minute. The bus team with the best-wrapped volunteer would be declared the winner.
Anamika and Dremar were fast and focused. They worked together, starting at Sarah’s toes and working their way up, rolling paper and applying tape along the way. Without a doubt, these two were collaborating.
3 – 2 – 1 – STOP!
Anamika and Dremar stood hopeful and proud beside Sarah, who was thoroughly wrapped and standing impressively still to avoid ripping the challengers’ precise work. The competitors were told to tear free their volunteers while the judges tallied the results. It was with pure glee that the two tore away metres of wrapping paper to release Sarah.
Anamika and Dremar were settling into their seats when the judges announced the final Bus Challenge winners of the decade: Route 2-1!
The three rows of the theatre containing Arlene’s route erupted in cheers. Anamika and Dremar were offered more high fives than they could reach.
A Long Way
Later, walking through the volunteer centre, CityKidz Studio Theatre, Youth Studio, KinderKidz theatre and the beginnings of a production studio, it was strange to think that none of this had been part of CityKidz at the start of the decade.
We’ve come a long way and we have the entire CityKidz community to thank for it. Everyone who has given their time, their talents, their prayers and their treasures has helped to transform CityKidz into the organization it is today.
But even as so many things have changed and evolved at CityKidz, our commitment to inspiring BIG dreams and transforming children’s lives with the power of faith, hope and love has always remained the same. It is humbling to see how far this community has come and inspiring to think of how far we will go.