When she was in Grade 10, Lacombe's Sarina Aryal looked outside. Then she looked inside, where she found children, cooped up instead of enjoying the outdoors.
That's when she decided to start Fun in the Sun, a free, volunteer-led program at Powpows Park, where kids play for two hours every Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m.
“I have a younger sister and I have a lot of younger cousins. What I noticed from babysitting was, I found that kids are hesitant to go outside and actually have fun. I felt like we needed to re-establish that idea that being outside, being outdoors and being with other people is fun,” Aryal said.
“Nowadays due to technology, kids don’t get out and play as much. So I thought, why not have a designated day for a few hours where you could bring your kids out and have them play with volunteer supervision.”
The program got support from FCSS. Two years later, it's grown. Aryal estimates as few as five showing up that first day. Yesterday, there were 23.
She believes Fun in the Sun's caught on, because it's fun. Kids run around, they make friends, and she's found, they end up wanting to do it all again.
“When I go pick up my sister from school, they recognize me. They say, ‘I had a lot of fun at Fun in the Sun,’” she said.
“You’re really getting friends. A lot of the kids who come, come back yearly or come back every week and you establish bonds and relationships and friendships.”