BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL
Being cooped up inside all winter can be tough for a family with young children. Once spring comes, there are always many outdoor activities to partake in, but for now the choices are limited. Luckily this past weekend there was a kid=friendly event at Rockland Community College.
Sunday, March 10 was YouthFest/County Government Day at the RCC Field house from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event was jam-packed for the entire five hours with children big and small. This event showcased county services by provided children friendly activities that interactively taught how things work. There was also the opportunity for adults to ask any questions they many also have of the services.
Rockland County Department of Social Services had a booth about Foster Parenting. At the booth, there were pamphlets, flyers and arts and crafts for the kids. The Sewer District, the Department of Personnel, and many other departments were represented.
There weren’t just small little crafts to get absorbed in, like a planting project by Americorps. The County Highway Department had a salt and plow truck right in the field house for all to see. The also had information on their green roads program both available visually and on paper. Rockland County Sheriff Department had their bomb disposal unit at the event also. The Corrections booth also had crayons, coloring pages and stickers. Crayons and stickers were very abundant at YouthFest.
There was a huge TOR bus, 35-feet long and powered by hybrid technology with doors wide open for all to board and view provided by the County Department of Public Transportation. More exciting than a bus, there was a full-size fire truck from Tallman’s Fire Department with kids climbing in and out from every direction. A Recruiting booth for volunteer firefighters was set up explaining the purpose of the fire department and why it is important for people to volunteer.
“Do you want adventures?” asked a fireman to a young boy walking by.
There were numerous booths for daycares, pre-schools, and summer camps. The Head Start of Rockland, Nursery Schools of Nyack, RCC Awesome Science Camp, the JCC, and The Challenger Center are just a few that were in attendance. The Girl Scouts were selling cookies. Haverstraw’s Adventurer Club invited people to join. BOCES was handing out age appropriate books to children as they passed by.
Families had their hands full of canvas bags with goodies from TD Bank, Orange and Rockland and countless other companies. Valley Cottage Animal Hospital had a raffle at their booth. Hi-Tor Animal Shelter showed kids the importance of rebuilding. For the parents, there were many health booths, such as podiatrists, dentists, and chiropractors. A few chiropractors offered massages right there on site.
Nyack Hospital hosted a family favorite, Teddy Bear Hospital, complete with its own tent for patient privacy as those poor injured Teddys were nursed back to good health. The line went back and forth quite a few times to get in, but rumor had it that it was worth the wait.
In the back part of the field house there was a magician, a bouncy castle, a gigantic inflatable slide, a huge shark slide, and many other inflatables. Many smiling faces and screams of delight echoed through the area. The day was a success.