The 11th National Families Week was held between 15 and 21 May 2013. 'Families Working Together – Getting the balance right' – was the theme for 2013. National Families Week celebrates the vital role that families of all shapes and sizes play. CatholicCare, Out of Home Care program, sees the value of family in our everyday work, and we support and embrace the many types of families who come through our doors.
To recgnise this special event, the Out of Home Care Team put our heads together to come up with an event that was simple, fun, and provided a great opportunity for the families to connect. From this "Tenpin Bowling in Your PJs" was born. So the planning began, and I was quite interested to hear how many staff members were willing to don the slippers and dressing gowns to attend... and I think there was even a penguin 'onesie' thrown in the mix. Gabby McLaren put together a great advertising flyer. Prizes were the enticement for the participants, as well as the great motivation of just being able to put the kids straight into bed upon getting home. After a slow start to participant acceptances, we were able to rally the troops and about 35 kids and carers turned up for an evening in the lanes, at Mayfield Superstrike on Friday 17th May. Five staff attended the event, though there was a familiar face posing as Mrs Brown, which looked suspiciously like Therese Osland, plus that peculiar penguin.
It was wonderful to see so many families get into the mood and I truly admired one family who drove from Weston dressed in theme (including Mum). They certainly set a high benchmark for all others. So, there we were, dressed for comfort and fun, with the skittles trembling in anticipation. Food was served, names ticked off, teams decided and camera in hand. Let the games begin! And how they did! Rules were relaxed and fun was the name of the game. I don’t think I have seen so many interesting bowling run-ups since the last Flintstones episode I watched. The ‘Water Buffaloes’ had nothing on our group. Virginia Tsang did a great job getting everyone involved and organising the prizes for our competitors. Who would have thought that a plastic set of skittles could be utilised so creatively?
If the only way to evaluate the success of the night was through observation, it was 10 out of 10. Carers connected, kids interacted, staff got involved and the energy was tangible. I am sure there were plenty who slept well that night, particularly one little one who amazed us and her carer with her ability to bowl, and bowl, and bowl, and bowl. It was great to see the older kids join in, and the younger ones flex their muscles. The carers got involved, and the teams showed a lovely blend of talents. Melissa Thornton and Karen Pentney were great supporters, photographers, participants and motivators and were wonderful in getting the more reluctant into the swing. Kim Creigh looked mighty relaxed in her night gear, and it was a great opportunity for us to meet some new carers and kids.
So, the national theme of 'Families Working Together – Getting the balance right' certainly was apparent. Everyone worked together to provide a great event for all involved – families and staff alike. Thank you to Mayfield Superstrike who catered for the event, thanks to the families for their attendance and thanks to the organisers. I believe we did ‘get the balance right’.
Article by Bernadette Mears.
Photo Gallery (click to enlarge)