The National Home children and their friends got the chance to play and bounce and have fun at Sunday’s UAW Carnival.
United Auto Workers Region 1-D Veterans Committee provides the annual event, and many members come to the National Home on carnival day to help out with the games and inflatable play places.
This year, Region 1-D was joined by Dream Girls USA members from Michigan. Dream Girls USA is a national organization that emphasizes natural beauty and community service for girls and women.
Rebecca Robbins and Betsy Spreeman were manning the Bounce House. Both women have been members of Dream Girls USA for years, and said community service projects range from working with veterans to volunteering for hospice.
The kids played old-fashioned carnival games – no computers were in sight. One game required the player to roll a ball on two steel rods without going past a certain point. Another game involved balancing a ball on two sticks while maneuvering it into a cup.
“Oh, so close!” said Danielle, 15, to a little girl. The little girl almost got the ball into the cup. Danielle was one of the Dream Girls helping out at the carnival.
“Here you are, honey,” Danielle said, handing the little girl two tickets.
The tickets were a big deal to the kids. What would a carnival be without the chance to win prizes? The kids were given tickets at each game, which they could then exchange for prizes such as small games, colored pencils, little rings, and more.
Then there was the Velcro Wall. Each participant suited up in a special suit with Velcro strips, bouncing and bouncing and then throwing himself against the wall, resembling a giant fly, stuck to flypaper.
Merridy Lewis, the VFW National Home District 7 Trustee, came to watch the kids and talk to some of the families. She said this was her first time at the carnival, and she looked like she was having a good time.
Over at the Bounce House, kids were bouncing and crawling around, racing up the small slopes and then sliding down the slide. The carnival feeling was complete with the smell of popcorn nearby, and there were chili dogs and chips for lunch.
Laura Lonsbury, the National Home’s Education Director, was working at the bungee pull. Two sisters were racing each other, back and forth, only to be pulled by the cord when they raced too far.
Charlie Pullen of Region 1-D Veterans Committee said the group has been putting on the carnival for about 10 years.
“There’s a lull between Christmas and Easter,” he said. “We got the idea to come down here … do something for the kids. Let the kids burn off some energy. Let the parents relax.”
The kids did burn off lots of energy, and had fun doing it – thanks to the UAW Region 1-D Veterans Committee!
Check out all the carnival photos on our Flickr!