Video: West Seattle Community Centers’ egg-hunt-a-palooza

April 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

This year for the first time, dealing with city-budget-related changes such as staff cuts and closures, the West Seattle Community Centers team came up with a creative alternative idea for the traditional spring-egg-hunt day – one big combined event at Southwest Athletic Complex that went beyond egg hunts. And what a turnout! The event is about midway through (see the schedule here). On the field, there are bouncy toys for kids not tuckered out enough after chasing eggs:

And right before the hunting began, there was the tantalizing sight of the prize baskets:

We have more photos/video to add later. Caspar Babypants performs at 1:30 pm and the event’s not over till 3. The complex is in the 2800 block of SW Thistle, across from Chief Sealth International High School.

ADDED 9:04 PM: Adding video and a few more photos – first, you see them in summertime parades, but here’s the Sweet Mahogany drill team in a springtime appearance:

Someone else you’ll be seeing in summertime parades – West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival royalty! Here’s Senior Court Queen Kayli, with Junior Court Queen Thea and Princess Elena:

And this event had TWO Easter Bunnies … who posed with team members from EuropaKids International Preschool (WSB sponsor), which has classes at the nearby Southwest Pool/Teen Life Center building but is expanding as of this summer:

And one more video clip: Caspar Babypants with the song that we wind up humming for days after hearing it …

For other events coming up at West Seattle city-run Community Centers, you can browse the spring brochure (PDF).

23 Comments

  1. Wow. That’s a very favorable review for an event that felt more like the Hunger Games than a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. The staff at this over-priced and poorly organized event was clearly overwhelmed, if you could find them at all. Some highlights? Running about 150 4-6 years old across a field with eggs for about half of them; no bathrooms at field level; and lines for face painting that felt more like airport TSA on the day before Thanksgiving. I’ve always voted for pro-parks levies (and I always will). I feel their budget pain and the employees there–especially the long-suffering woman at the “feedback booth”–were clearly doing their best. Next year, let’s find a way to bring these back to the neighborhoods at a smaller scale.

    Comment by Jude — 1:41 pm April 7, 2012 #

  2. Total chaos. Didn’t work for the under 3 crowd at all.

    Comment by Lorelee — 2:36 pm April 7, 2012 #

  3. As noted previously, this was the first year, and I am sure they will be interested in constructive feedback; there is a general Parks Department feedback box listed on the department’s “Contact Us” page, PKS_Info@seattle.gov … One note re: pro-parks levy, brought up by the first commenter, since it’s not often mentioned: For reasons I don’t quite get myself, that levy and Parks/Green Spaces, approved by voters in 2008, are all for acquisition, nothing for maintenance/staffing/etc. So Parks continues to have to manage more with the same pool of people/resources, and even winds up closing facilities (like the SW Community Center near the scene of today’s event, no longer a community center). Instead of each center having a senior coordinator, they are managed centrally by region, under the budget decision we covered extensively last fall … I believe there are two for the entire WS region. One possible solution is what’s being done for the Alki Art Fair, since that was going to die otherwise without Alki Community Center staff availability – volunteer power. But even this one, I think, fell short on volunteers – http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150629350712161&id=103150522160 … TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:47 pm April 7, 2012 #

  4. Hey, I thought it was great! Sure, long lines but I thought the plan was well thought out and the staff did a great job. Once on the field – it was great fun for all and lots of eggs for my 4 year olds! I figure in this age of government cut-backs we are lucky to have such an event.

    Comment by LM — 4:23 pm April 7, 2012 #

  5. Lm’s kiddies must have gotten all the eggs. My 4 year old got 3. Lots of “grown ups”grabbing eggs in the 4-6 year old hunt. Sad.

    Comment by Aurora — 4:56 pm April 7, 2012 #

  6. we thought it was fun once they let people on the field. the volunteers at the egg recycling station were especially nice. they were re-filling eggs and gave us a couple more eggs at the recycling station. we had fun sitting in the sun and listening to the story tellers and musicians. lots of room at the back for a wild dancer that really enjoyed caspar babypants.

    there were some issues caused by lack of organization but for the first time trying to do such a big event I think it was ok. I think some of the biggest issues could have been mitigated by not making people sit in the bleachers til 11:45. they gave the all clear for the 3 and unders to come down for the egg hunt, and a minute after that told every-one to come to the field for the games and such. all those people trying to file through one tiny gate…. we know of one 3 year old who did get there early (before 11:30) but because of the cluster- he didn’t make it down onto the field until after the under-3 egg hunt was already over. maybe next time they could let people on the field when they get there, and say “this age group wait between the 0 and 20 yard lines” etc. that could help.

    and yes, the field of eggs for 4 – 7 yr olds looked pretty sparse. didn’t even look like there was 1 egg for every kid. I hoped that maybe some of the parents went back to the egg hunt during the ‘adult’ egg hunt. the guy on the bullhorn seemed like he was practically begging people to come to the adult egg hunt. we saw one senior that seemed pretty happy to have picked up a nice basket during the ‘senior’ egg hunt. I thought that was nice they had one for every age group.

    the line for tickets was still pretty long at 11:30 too, I don’t have an idea on how that could be handled differently.

    Comment by sam-c — 5:11 pm April 7, 2012 #

  7. For us (and a 3 year old), it wasn’t too bad. Seemed a bit disorganized in the beginning (long lines for tickets, hard to get from the bleachers to the field when they called the 0-3 group, etc) but I really liked having the egg hunts divided by age. I noticed that there was a bit of confusion as well as to weather or not the adults (who wouldn’t be egg hunting) had to pay for wrist bands. Lines for the activities (bounce houses, ring toss, etc) were really short when we did them just after 0-3 egg hunt. Wasn’t horrible, we will probably be back next year. I was really happy that they did let the line in before starting the egg hunt so most everyone got a chance.
    It just seemed that the turn out was way more than they expected. Next year, maybe pre-sales instead of at the gate sales, I don’t know.

    Comment by Debbie — 6:53 pm April 7, 2012 #

  8. We had a good time at this event although, there are some obvious areas that could be improved on for next year. When we got there, 15 minutes early, there was a line of families wrapped around the parking lot waiting to purchase their wristbands. This could have been avoided if people didn’t wait until the day of event to purchase them. We got ours the previous week and I’m so glad we did! We were able to walk right in.

    I thought it was a bad idea to make everyone wait in the bleachers and then try to heard each age group down to the field with only one entrance to the field. However, once they announced that everyone was allowed to head down, my husband, 4 year old, and I were able to walk up the bleachers and over to the other field entrance with no problem. I’m not sure everyone knew there was more than one entrance to the field.
    As for the 4-6 year old Egg Hunt. I thought there was plenty of eggs for the children. As soon as they blew the whistle my daughter was off! Trying to chase after her with hundreds of other parents chasing their children was insane! I lost sight of her a few times, but in the end, we had a decent time.

    Comment by Novemberschild — 7:11 pm April 7, 2012 #

  9. Suppose I should add that the lil one had plenty of fun, got enough eggs (seems there were certainly enough for the 0-3 group) and didn’t stop smiling the whole time we were there.

    Comment by Debbie — 7:25 pm April 7, 2012 #

  10. Horribly planned, way under staffed and awful! The best part of the event was the weather. We got there 30 min before the egg hunt started and there was already a size able line which probably took about 15 minutes to get through. Once at the payment window we were told the adults had to pay as well. Disappointed at the $20 fee we decided it was still a fun family day to spend the money on. Once inside it got very confusing. First we were told it was ok to go on the field. Then we were asked to leave the field So we sat in the stands with a 2 and 5 year old for 40 minutes watching just a few of the “lucky kids” play on the field listening to blaring hip hop and pop music blasting into the seating. First our 2 year old went on the field. That went fine. But, different story for our 5 year old who ran like crazy to get eggs and ended up with 3. It was ridiculous! After the hunt the kids wanted to go in the bouncy house which all had really long lines. While walking around we also discovered a few adults who did not buy wristbands and were not told they had to. We ended up getting a refund. Really sad that our Hiawatha egg hunt didn’t happen this year. No way we will ever attend this event again!

    Comment by A — 9:51 pm April 7, 2012 #

  11. We were there for the 0-3yrs egg hunt. I didn’t particularly care for the flow of things and how it was organized… or disorganized. Definitely can work on better signage throughout the event to better direct traffic. Could work on point-of-entry lines (dividing pre-paid from day-of ticket purchaser’s). Also, it’s probably a good idea to have adult volunteers, not children, holding the signs where people sit and wait in the bleachers among their respective age groups in order to direct traffic/reinforce safety/answer parents’ questions/etc. Maybe there were adult volunteers standing with them, but I guess they weren’t very distinguishable. Overall, our 2.5-yr-old had an okay time only after she had finally gotten some eggs in her basket: it was all pouty faces before that time having her sit in the cold and explaining why we have to wait, wait, wait. :/

    Comment by Elle — 1:24 am April 8, 2012 #

  12. I felt like the workers did a great job figuring things out, but hopefully they learned ways to make next years event better and seem more organized. We were one of the first people to arrive and didn’t have tickets and although they had someone at the ticket booth and the line was growing they wouldn’t start selling tickets til 11. Once we got our tickets I asked how strollers got down and the lady didn’t know so she radioed and nobody knew. In the end me and another lady were directed down the steep hill by the gate near the road. Boy that was fun with a five month old and two year old. When we reached the field we were informed there was a very old elevator that might work and they would check it out.Then after waiting for the postponed egg hunt I needed to use the bathroom but wasnt going to drag my kids and stuff all the way back up! It was CRAZY! Once everything got underway I thought it went well. I did feel five dollars per person was a little much. Maybe the band could have been playing throughout the beginning of the event versus the very end. It was a long wait for the little kids to here there favorite performer and a lot of people grew tired of waiting and just left. Food options might have done better too on the field.

    Comment by Yodog — 2:07 am April 8, 2012 #

  13. I was really disappointed. First off, I pre-bought my wristband at High Point. Thought it would be $3, but ended up having to pay $6, because they made me buy an adult one, too. Even though I told them I did not wanr to participate in the adult hunt. They said it was required for the adult who would be on the field with my daughter.
    We walked from our house and got there at 11:30 because my daughter was in the 3u hunt that I was told started at 11:40. Went right in b/c we had the wristband already. But the line for those purchasing wristbands was at least 150 deep and VERY slow moving. We sat in the bleachers and waited. We were told the hunts would be delayed so more people could get in from the line. Ugh. How long do you expect under-3s to wait? I also have a 6-week-old I was wrangling, so my husband waited with our older (20 months) daughter in the seats. Waiting with no updates sucked, everyone working was confused, and you couldn’t hear the loudspeaker. Eventually they just let everyone in the line in for free to get things moving. They started, but kept corralling the kids and parents in different areas. Up and down steps, on the field, in hoards. My daughter was so tired at this point she was laying in the grass not wanting to move. Finally they took them to the fields. It was like a 30 second stampede of tired, grumpy toddlers. And the adults certainly werent all wearing wristbands, so that was inconsistent. We left immediately. Won’t be going back next year.
    On another, better, note, we took my daughter to the toddler eggstravaganza at High Point earlier in the week–it was fantastic and very well executed. Community centers: you win some you lose some. At least the weather was nice on Saturday.

    Comment by Katy L — 6:10 am April 8, 2012 #

  14. We enjoyed it. Our 3 and 4 year olds had fun at the little game booths, which I thought were well done. And, the kids hosting them were nice too.
    The egg hunt sure was fast, but our kids enjoyed it and got about 4 eggs each. Sure, a little chaos, some bad mannered families leaving trash, cutting off our kids, but surely not the fault of the event. And it will be better next year. A lot of kids had a lot of fun. A little chilly, but a perfect day too.

    Comment by hector — 9:32 am April 8, 2012 #

  15. These events are normally semi-organized chaos at best, went into it with that expectation.

    However, didn’t appreciate being herded into the bleachers when no one seemed to have thought about how they were going to get people out of them. When the call came to move down to the field they tried to squeeze a few hundred people through a little gate which didn’t work too well.

    After sitting there for 30-45 min, we then see that they had apparently given up on selling armbands to the huge line and just let the people who didn’t have one yet in for free, and sent them to walk right past all the people who had been patiently waiting.

    When it came time for the egg hunt for 0-3, the guy with the bullhorn was giving out different info than the people shepherding the kids to hunt. He had said the 0-3 kids were NOT supposed to take the orange eggs, but they were then lined up on the field of orange eggs. I think he was right, because the orange eggs were filled with starburst, skittles, and taffy, all great choking hazards for babies and toddlers.

    The truly disappointing bit though, was the parents who were helping or encouraging their kids to take as many eggs as possible. We saw several people with one kid with buckets with easily 30-40 eggs in them. Also saw adults grabbing eggs as little kids were going for them. My son managed to pick up 6 eggs, and ended up giving two away to a little girl who didn’t get any.

    I think next yer we will do our best to organize something in our neighborhood. These hints just don’t scale well.

    Comment by Rob — 11:02 am April 8, 2012 #

  16. “Traditional spring-egg-hunt day” be blowed!
    Once again, the urge to super-size everything has turned a simple childhood activity into a vulgar, chaotic greed-fest.
    Not being superior here. In our little corner of the sandbox, the police are often called out to break up fistfights among the adults, while their terrified (and egg-less) offspring look on.

    Comment by WS expat — 1:20 pm April 8, 2012 #

  17. I enjoyed it. Perfect weather, people were in good spirits, the kids obviously enjoyed themselves. And *finally* got to hear Caspar Babypants in person.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 4:48 pm April 8, 2012 #

  18. Some of the parents commenting on the various egg hunts (and talking about the even worse parents they observed) kind of make me hope that I’m dead before their very entitled children are running things. Here’s an idea – if you don’t like the way the public egg hunts are run, buy some eggs, boil them, dye them and hide them yourselves. Do you realize how lucky you are to be raising your children in a society where food is wasted for a ritualized version of hide and seek?

    Comment by ohthehorror — 10:40 pm April 8, 2012 #

  19. Ohthehorror…the expectation would only to be something like other community center egg hunts in the past. However, a once loved activity we enjoyed with our kids for 5 years totally blew at this event. Community egg hunts are usually a lot of fun for the whole families but this event was not planned well. By the way, we eat our eggs so I don’t think it’s a fair statement to say our kids are “entitled and are wasting food”.

    Comment by A — 7:56 am April 9, 2012 #

  20. I agree with A. I was one of the parents who commented on the egg hunt at Thriftway, in another post, and did observe unfortunate behavior by other parents. That doesn’t, in any way, imply my kids feel a sense of entitlement. They don’t deserve the eggs any more than the next person. That doesn’t mean it’s still not disheartening to witness what should be more of an innocent and enjoyable event for all turn into a push-shove-grab greedy fest by those who you’d hope know better.

    Personally, if there were a way to manage it, I think it’d be great if there were “handlers” or staff who could oversee one group of kids at a time, and parents had to stay completely out of the picture, in some sort of holding area. I told my son I refused to touch any of the eggs during the hunt unless he spied one, himself, up high, and asked me to get it for him. And when he felt he had enough (maybe 15) he said so, and we were done, off to look for his older sister. But again, that’s why I said I can’t really do much about the other parents (beyond observing and feeling sorry for their kids being shown such poor behavioral examples) but just hope my own kids get a sense of what’s right/wrong.

    We’re quite fortunate to have a community where we’re able to do these things, and I absolutely appreciate all the efforts put on by the various stores and community centers. In a world where so many have so little, the issues and annoyances associated are certainly nothing in the scheme of things.

    Comment by Carrie Ann — 10:33 am April 9, 2012 #

  21. @ Carrie Ann – I understand that there are thoughtful parents out there who are justifiably disappointed when they’re hoping to have a memorable (in a good way) experience for their kids and others ruin it. It’s refreshing to see someone instilling values in their little ones and maintaining their cool in a chaotic and perhaps tense situation. Good on you and all the other parents who took this as an opportunity to show their kids what doing the right thing looks like. Thank you for your thoughtful post, it made me re-think my comment.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 12:30 am April 10, 2012 #

  22. First, let me say I am a Seattle Parks Employee but I am NOT speaking on behalf of Seattle Parks. I am speaking as a citizen who when not working these kinds of events attends them with my family. With that disclaimer out of the way, I am glad people are giving their opinions of the event. I appreciate the positive and negative feedback. In my eyes, if the negative feedback creates resolutions to the issues raised, then it becomes a positive. I was present and working the event and I am also a past employee of Southwest Community Center so I had many reasons for wanting this to be a success. Personally, I feel the exchange of ideas given here is precisely what the Seattle Parks needs. We need more input and more participation from our communities to effectively cater to their needs. I encourage anyone happy or unhappy with the event to get on an Advisory Council at their nearest community, volunteer for these types of events when time allows and definitely voice their feedback. I am a firm believer in the idea that communities create communities/community centers and that I am only as good daily as the people I get up and go to work for. I validate each and everyone’s gripes and praise. There is always room for improvement and I hope the singular experience of one event does not discourage you from future attendance at further events.

    Comment by T. George Yasutake — 6:09 pm April 10, 2012 #

  23. We were there too with our 4 year old son and frieds of ours with their 4 year old daughter. Loved the weather, the music and the location. And, I hope a lot of money was raised for the community centers (we all purchased wrist bands at $5 each).

    That being said, we were very disappointed in the 4-6 egg hunt. In the first 5 seconds my son was knocked down by a larger kid, and then shoved aside by a parent. He ran the ENTIRE field looking for eggs, just to have each one nabbed by a bigger child or a parent as he reached it. At the end of the chaos, he and I ended up in a group of smaller sobbing kids with their parents at the opposite end of the field – he had 1 egg and most of the other kids had 1 or none.

    As we left the field we saw the parents who had pushed kids aside with 2 or 3 baskets overflowing with eggs. I could have been mistaken, but I didn’t see any wrist bands on these adults.

    My son got a great lesson about how life is not fair and that grown ups sometimes knock little kids down to get little plastic eggs. There are some real jerks out there.

    Comment by WS pre-K Mom — 9:40 pm April 11, 2012 #

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