April 22nd, 2024

University welcomes families to its annual Play Day event


By Lethbridge Herald on February 19, 2024.

Herald photo by STEFFANIE COSTIGAN Play Day volunteer Gesiah Leyva paints a dinosaur onto Mlya Drader’s face at the U of L on Monday.

Steffanie Costigan
LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER

The University of Lethbridge held its annual Play Day in the 1st Choice Savings Centre at the U of L on Monday. 

This year’s Play Day on Family Day was dinosaur-themed and included various activities for families to enjoy such as building cardboard forts, wall climbing, swimming, dancing, sports, bounce houses, science centre for kids, face painting and more.

U of Lethbridge Director of Alumni and Community Relations Kali Mckay said Play Day involves groups across campus helping to put the event together.

“Play Day’s an activity that we host annually on Family Day each year. It brings people from across southern Alberta to our campus for a day of free activities in our spaces,” said Mckay.

Mckay said the volunteers putting together Play Day have sacrificed their holiday to organize and run the event. Most of the more than  100 volunteers are alumni. 

“As a university, we have been very fortunate over the last number of years to be very supported from individuals from across the community. And this is our chance to give back to those individuals by providing a day of free facility access and free activities, and invite people to explore our campus and our space, and to have fun together with their family,” said Mckay. 

Registrations for a range of children’s summer camps also opened Monday for families.

“There’s a variety of different camps available throughout the summer. There’s arts, fine arts, there’s drama, multi-sport and then there’s some activity specific camps as well,” she said.

Mckay said hard work is put into bringing Play Day together. 

“This Play Day brings a lot of different people from across campus together to make it possible… Lots of our zone leaders do take the time to create activities around that theme. There’s a lot of prep that goes into today. And a lot of hard work that goes into making today happen.”

Mother Patricia Jonzon expressed her appreciation for the event.

“I just thought it was such a great event, the opportunity for students to come to get to see the campus to see the facilities, and also just the enjoyment of everything that’s here. I love the cardboard box sport they create. 

“I just think . . .  for people to be able to build and to create and for families to be able to really not have barriers, come in, enjoy a really great event. 

“The fact that it’s free and accessible. It’s really important, and I think it’s really great,” said Jonzon.

She kids were excited to participate in the activities with their families.

“I think they’re blown away. I think that they couldn’t believe that such a place could exist, especially in a smaller town like Lethbridge. I know Calgary, we have science centres and stuff like that. But this is kind of bringing that big city adventure to Lethbridge, which I think is definitely good,” said Jonzon.

One of the fathers at the event with his family, Kirk Maragh, said his family always looks forward to the event. 

“We’ve been actually coming for several years now. It’s a great experience. It’s wonderful that the university is able to put this on for the kids. And it’s a great way to get the kids involved in participating actively in the community,” said Maragh. 

“They have a great time and it’s a great experience for them,” he said of his kids.

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