Students arrange kid’s carnival at Relay for Life

SWISHMASTER: Trenton Halvas prepares to drain a shot from the big kid's line, winning a prize at the Relay for Live Carnival for a Cure. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

SWISHMASTER: Trenton Halvas prepares to drain a shot from the big kid’s line, winning a prize at the Relay for Live Carnival for a Cure. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

BIG RAPIDS — This year’s Relay for Life had a carnival theme encouraging area children to participate in the annual fundraising event.

But carnivals don’t just happen.

A group of dedicated young people came together Saturday to provide kids at Relay for Life with a variety of fun games and prizes.

Haylee Worrall, incoming freshman at Crossroads, was the de facto ringleader of the carnival. Worrall enlisted the help of friends and classmates to set up and operate a number of game stations, as well as a bounce house borrowed from Remus.

“I’ve been doing Relay for Life for about five years,” Worrall said. “Usually, I would help my grandma with her booth. I lost my grandpa to cancer so I like doing the Relay for Life because I feel like I’m helping battle cancer. My grandpa meant a lot to me, so being the leader here is really special to me.”

The switch from helping her grandmother in a booth to organizing the carnival was an exciting challenge for Worrall.

“This year is different, but I like it,” she said. “Since it is carnival themed, we thought it would be great to have games in the center. The games were supposed to start at 1 p.m., but when all the kids showed up we decided to start early. We can still have fun in the rain.”

Samantha Taylor was one of Worrall’s friends who volunteered to help put on the carnival.

“The carnival’s been pretty fun,” Taylor said. “The kids really love it, and it’s great because it’s all free. The kids have all been winning prizes and playing in the bounce house. It’s a way to have more fun with the relay.”

The success of the carnival drew praise from the organizers of the event.

“We just gave the kids a little direction and the rest was entirely them,” said Linda Connell, Relay for Life Mecosta County committee member and representative from Isabella Bank. “And the kids get community service hours for school, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Event chair Julie Cole was impressed with the students’ contributions as well.

“With the theme of “Carnival for a Cure” we were trying to get the kids more involved,” Cole said. “Even with school starting up soon, kids need stuff to do. The students worked hard to make the kid’s carnival a success.”

Worrall stressed how rewarding the experience has been for her.

“It feels great to feel like I’m helping save a life,” she said. “And it feels great to get my friends involved.”

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Posted by Adam Gac

Adam is the Pioneer City/County Reporter, covering government in Mecosta County. He can be reached by e-mail at agac@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8347.

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