C had his company picnic a couple of weekends ago, and I realized I forgot to write all about it. It was a great time had by all (or us three anyway). There was a nice variety of food and snacks, a nice selection of activities for the kids to do, and displays that were educational for kids and adults alike. They were able to host the event at C’s office property and incorporate some of their actual work trucks and machinery into the day, too. Good times.
Along with that, of course, was the games and competition arena. You know, the part at these things where it’s usually that “forced family fun” part of the day. However, while there was some sort of party coordinator, game barker mingling through the crowd announcing one competition after the next, there was really no forcing anyone to participate. Strangely enough plenty of folks jumped into the fray and tossed an egg or water balloon back and forth with their kid. Actually the atmosphere was a nice change of pace compared to my previous experience at these events. As a kid I remember growing up and pretty much being forced to do ALL of those events because, well, when we arrived we were told to put on a team T-shirt of some sort, which meant – yep – forced family fun. Same thing with anywhere I’ve worked before when it’s been company picnic time: you better get ready to team up, compete, and like it. So from my point of view it was just nice to see that folks were willing to step up, compete, and that parents and kids were smiling – unforced – through it all to boot. When T is old enough, he, too, can unforce C into some of the competition as well.
But the one area at the event that we were pretty much camped out in for a good two to three hours was the covered kids’ area, which was furnished with a couple of bounce houses – one at each end – and an arts and crafts zone in the center complete with face painter and balloon artist. T had a blast in the bounces; back and forth he ran and jumped, and back and forth again times about 47. In fact, after a couple of hours of that, we realized that while he hadn’t stopped for as much as a sip of water there were the same girls just sitting and crafting masks and other things at this ginormous crafting center. The girls appeared to be the same age as T, but wow how they were channeling energy in such a different way entirely, truly amazing to watch and witness. However once T finally slowed down in hour number three he decided he needed a balloon sword (how ironic, making a pretend sharp object out of something that can pop by a real sharp object). When T and I went over to the crafting area to wait in line I discovered that the clown-gal who was doing the balloons was the face painter also. Figuring we could get a two-for-one I asked T if he wanted to get his face painted, too (since he was waiting for the balloon anyway), to which he answered an emphatic NO. T still hasn’t gotten his face painted to date, despite having had several opportunities to do so. All I can think is that as he waited in line and watched other kids getting their face painted is that it just must have looked too painful for him to sit still for THAT long (all of three to five minutes), but who really knows.
To summarize, the picnic was a fantastic, free family event that was fun and not forced. It was casual but structured with enough activity that it allowed kids of all ages to enjoy at whatever their pace was for as long as they were able to last. Thanks C’s workplace!