Gorgeous weather and fun activities created a great outing for matches at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Fall Festival held at the Loralee Foundation ranch outside of Austin. More than 50 Bigs and Littles attended the annual event, held on Saturday, October 10, in the beautiful country setting – an event that was for matches only.
“Bigs and Littles get to enjoy a free day out, interacting with each other through games, a craft, or even a carnival type ride,” said Christina Snell, BBBS Match Support Specialist. “One-on-one attention is what Littles want most. Fall Fest provides a great opportunity for them to have that, and a lot of fun as well.”
While fun was the theme of the day, quality time was the focus. Outside distractions were at a minimum as Bigs and Littles enjoyed their time together. The impact of this day will last long after the last balloon has popped.
Pumpkin painting, crafts, a cupcake cake walk, face painting, a dart throw, a sack race, a football toss and other activities offered plenty to keep the matches busy for the afternoon. There was also a craft table where matches could help each other make Halloween costumes and masks, plus Trick or Treat bags. “Last year, for many of our matches, the Littles left with costumes they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Snell.
Bigs and Littles had a blast as they made their way through all the activities, bringing out the competitive spirit in one another. “She’s beating me at all the games,” laughed Alisha, a Big talking about her Little Sister Shannon’s success. Shannon laughingly agreed that after winning 3 of the 4 games they’d tried, she was, indeed, doing well. The two were soon off to collect their victory prizes from the Treasure Chest.
For Jackline and DeLeslyn it was all about the horses. “We just painted pumpkins,” said Jackline, a Big Sister, “and we’re about to head toward the ponies. It’s what DeLeslyn’s most excited about.” Then Jackline added with a laugh, “I’ll watch.”
For several matches, this was not their first Fall Fest. “This is our third time,” said Elissa. “And we’ve always had fun. Last year we made scarecrows.” Her Little, Azelea chimed in as she munched on a cupcake, “And I wore my costume last year.” Azelea was excited about getting her face painted, while Elissa made a costume mask.
Josue̒ and Miguel started off at the horse stables, which were a short distance away from the other events. They both enjoyed the horseback rides, though it was only the 2nd time Miguel had ridden a horse. “We also did this fun cupcake circle,” said Josue̒. “It made me dizzy, but we got a cupcake. It makes you feel good about eating a cupcake, burning off those calories.” The pair were then literally off and running as they spied some competitors for the sack race.
Though Bigs and Littles were the only guests, several service organizations were represented as volunteers. “We are excited to see the kids,” said Ila, with Texas Zephyr. “This place is so beautiful. It is so calming, and college life is so stressful. (Helping) is a great way to have fun with kids and de-stress at the same time.”
It was a day of exceptional weather, at an exceptional location, for an exceptional group of kids.