Kingston’s Barbecue Committee will be placing a single Easter ball in 50 municipal parks across Kingston and Amherstview on Easter morning, Sunday, April 17th. The event, the second time where sports balls are placed randomly at parks in Kingston in recent weeks, aims to get kids outdoors and having fun as part of the Committee’s own commitment to help Kingston get through these covid times, which began early in March, 2020.
According to Committee ‘spokesbunny’ John Casnig, “Kids need the sunlight, the exercise, the fun and especially the normal social interaction with peers – and the outdoor time greatly reduces the risk of contracting covid during the sixth wave.”
Casnig says that the Committee will not disclose what time and in which exact parks the sports balls will be placed, but they will be clearly marked and visible to their intended little hunters. While also contributing to two neighbourhood Easter egg hunts, the Committee is placing these 50 individual sports balls around the city “for those kids who are either uncomfortable with big social gatherings or are unfamiliar with Easter traditions, such as newcomers.”
The Barbecue Committee, which was originally formed almost 16 years ago to give grad students a break from isolation, high stress and overwork, is an informal group that organizes barbecues, toboganning, volleyball and other events for its members. Numbering in upper hundreds, and from over 60 countries, its oldest member just celebrated his 99th birthday this week. Most recently, the Committee helped organize the Chaharshanbe Suri event in March at the Memorial Centre, and placed a total of 35 soccer balls and basketballs at parks scattered across Kingston for Nature’s Day in early April. In January, it was awarded an Awesome Kingston grant to support its Tobogganing Committee events, seen most often this year at Indian Road Park.
Casnig hopes this Easter event will get families outside and socializing, helping everyone involved recover from their social anxiety and isolation. “This is the final phase of the Barbecue Committee’s covid response and it lasts about three months, with various events coming every two or three weeks.”
Why Easter? Why sports balls? Casnig explains that for many, Easter symbolizes hope and faith, something we could all use right now. “These balls look exactly like Easter eggs – and seeing kids playing fills us with hope that things are finally returning to normal.”
“If your kid finds a ball in a park that looks like an Easter egg this Sunday, it belongs to them – it’s that simple,” said Casnig. “Have some outdoor fun and exercise with your kid and others in the community and build some happy memories together. It’s the best investment you can make towards your child’s psychological wellbeing twenty years from now.