Slovak Kids Day in Ottawa

The annual Den Deti picnic went off on May 30 without a hitch, and both the children and the adults enjoyed a bright sunny day at Britannia Park.  We were lucky that the event, which usually is staged later in the year, benefited from this year’s unusually hot spring.

As usual, everyone from the community was happy to pitch in to supervise the children in their games and their contests, and to make sure there was enough good Slovak food to go around for everyone.  And as usual, a popular feature was the swapping. When kids outgrow a toy, a book, a game or even some clothes, those casn be brought to the picnic and exchanged or given away with others that come from other families.

The Canadian Slovak League branch was heavily involved this year thanks to its recently adopted plans to reach out to all Slovaks... members or not... and get to be known as a firm volunteer and event leader.  Much of the preparation was done by our branch’s Special Events and Youth Activities Committee. The committee chairperson, Mary Ann Doucette, said she was pleased with the day’s celebration and happy that the entire community is working together.

Something new this year was teaching the children how to be artists and builders. Jana Plesnikova and Janka Babiakova, our teachers at the weekly Slovak school, had the kids collect for several weeks a pile of big and little empty boxes, from containers of cereal, cookies, soft drinks, and anything else. The children then stacked them atop each other, taped them together, and covered them with sheets of grocery paper on which they painted.  And there it was – a castle, complete with a Slovak flag. Teaching children art, music, language, history and creativity is something the school is known for. Amusing games were organized for the younger ones, but exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body.

Older kids played the usual athletic games... catching, throwing and kicking balls... but hockey is still on our minds even though it is summer. Martin Fabus clearly wants to imitate Jaroslav Halak. He came equipped with a set of goalie pads and enjoyed blocking the tennis-ball shots that other boys older and younger then he is.

All are hoping we have the same weather next year, and make this an even bigger event. It is one way of keeping Slovak children in Canada familiar with, and tied to, their culture and origin.

Mary Ann Doucette wrote: Congratulations for organizing a very successful Den Deti- Kids Day at the Trolley Station in Britannia Park. It was nice to see so many individuals and families attend. The kids had a lot of fun. Special thank you to Janka Babiakova  and Jana  Plesnikova  for recruiting the youth volunteers who took care of the activities for the children; Katka Koziakova  for sending the announcements; Adriana  Galan for bringing the delicious klobasky and parky;  Milan Babiak and Igor Koziak  for barbequing them,  Alena Rosochova and Stani Rozarova for helping with the set up; Tibor Dej for lending his volleyball set; George Frajkor for taking pictures and Anne Ladouceur  for inviting the Rogers cameraman to record the event for the Slovak Spectrum Program.

Story: Jan George Frajkor, Ottawa
Photos: Jan George Frajkor and Mary Ann Doucette



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