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YMCA uses modified holiday event to spread cheer

by Christopher Stum Sunday, December 13th 2020

KEARNEY, Neb. — Spreading some good cheer this holiday season, Santa and his pal Elroy came out early this year to pass out some gifts at the YMCA.

The sound of Christmas Carole’s and sighting of Santa Clause are usually good indicators of the Christmas Season, but in an all but normal year where families will be spread out from each other the YMCA still trying their best to make sure families still have something to do together.

“We wanted to do something different where families could do something for the kids and really let kids have some kind of fun spark of imagination and creativity that they get to take home from somewhere,” said Dillon Nelson, Membership Engagement Manager.

To focus on community engagement and the promotion of social responsibility during a pandemic, the YMCA filled one hundred and ten goodie bags packed with plenty of activities for kids to enjoy and as an added bonus some candy canes.

“They’ve just got all sorts of activities in there, ornaments for the kids to make, Christmas sugar cookies and decorating kits and coloring books and candy canes and reindeer food,” said Peg Sinnard, Creative Arts Program Coordinator.

Each bag also came with a personal visit from Mr. Clause and his pal Elroy from the Kearney Elks Club.

While it’s a bit different than their normal “Saturday with Santa,” the YMCA said it was important that he still make an appearance for the kids — but in a modified sense to meet the requirements of the COVID era.

“Every year we all know that Santa comes around, he’s very prominent with our youth when it comes to this time of year, because it’s more of an excitement to actually see Santa,” said Nelson.

Now looking past Christmas, the YMCA said they hope that come next year, they’ll be able to once again go back to their normal activities for the kids.

“We’ll get things going, hopefully at the beginning of this next year, but I wanted to have something for the kids,” said Sinnard.