|Weiners cooking on one of the school’s two barbecues|
The Family Picnic is a highly anticipated event that’s become a May tradition at IHMS for the past 19 years. The picnic is not organized by the school – it’s organized by the parents of the school, the Parent’s Guild. It’s open to all current IHMS students and their family members. It’s also open to former students who have already graduated and moved on to other schools. In fact, the picnic is a great way for alumni to revisit the school to reconnect and socialize with old friends in the school community.
|Parent volunteers cooked hot dogs on the school’s two barbecues|
The picnic takes place on the playground at the end of the school day, and unlike most other IHMS events, it has only one purpose – fun! There are no fund raising concerns, no silver collection, and no obligations whatsoever except for one pre-cut, nut free home baking. It’s a great way for members of the school community to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed and informal setting.
|Students lined up for Freezies and cotton candy|
This year’s picnic took place on Thursday, June 2, the second time ever in the month of June (last year was the first). It was originally planned for the previous week, but was postponed because of rain. The picnic began right after dismissal and ran until approximately 5:30 p.m. Parents didn’t have to make a special trip to attend the picnic because they had to be at the school to pick up their kids anyway.
Most of the parents brought lawn chairs and socialized while their children enjoyed the various activities planned by the organizing committee. As students played with their friends and parents socialized with other parents, these positive interactions help create an important sense of community within the school.
|A group of parents at the picnic|
Everything about the Picnic was informal – families came when they could, and stayed as long as they wanted. Admission was only one pre-cut home baking per family. As usual, there were plenty of activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained.
The day of the picnic was also a N.U.T. day, and students were encouraged to dress in comfortable and colourful summer wear. This was a great idea because the weather was sunny and warm – a perfect day for a picnic.
|Students dressed casually – the day of the picnic was a N.U.T. day|
At 4:15 p.m., Mr. Picklyk announced that the food was being served right after the school chaplain, Father Thomas Kobak led everyone in prayer.
After the meal, a dessert table was set up with the pre-cut home baking that parents brought as admission. Coffee, orange juice, and water were included in the meal for anyone who wanted.
As in the past few years, there was one main attraction at the Family Picnic – an inflatable bouncer. This was a large air-filled structure that children crawled up on one side (after removing their shoes), in order to bounce or slide down the other side. Because it was so popular, most kids had to wait in line for a few minutes to try it out.
|The “big bouncer” was a popular attraction at the picnic|
There were also several different tossing games that involved throwing beanbags, frisbees, or shooting a plastic puck at a target. Ms. Rowe and Mrs. Zulyniak ran some games on the grassed area of the playground.
|Some of the games played on the grassed area of the playground|
Another activity featured at the picnic was a face painting station where face painting was performed by artistic grade 7 and 8 girls.
|Face painting was popular with some of the younger students|
Parent and student volunteers managed to keep the picnic running smoothly. The student volunteers, who were all from grade 8, did a wonderful job in reducing the number of parent volunteers needed. This gave more parents the chance to relax and spend time with their families. Workers were needed for the inflatable bouncer slide, the food tables, the barbeques, the popcorn and Freezie stations, and the cotton candy machine. These stations also required some heavy lifting in setting up and tearing down afterwards. Parent volunteers were also busy working behind the scenes preparing the food and drink for the picnic.
A table was set up for people to enter their name for a free raffle of donated prizes. This year, there were some excellent prizes. Every family attending the Picnic was eligible to enter their family’s name once.
|Junior high students working at the raffle table|
Everything about the picnic seemed to go as planned. The weather was fantastic and everyone seemed to have a good time! Thank you to all the volunteers who made the family picnic the success that it was.