It was definitely time for an old-fashioned block party.
The West Jefferson Elementary School end-of-the-year tradition on May 12 brought out children and their parents, and the wet weather didn’t dampen their spirits as most of the vendor tables simply moved inside to the gymnasium.
Outside, children climbed inside an Elk Creek Fire Rescue engine, taking turns running the lights and sirens. Inside, children tried on firefighter gear, looked at wild animal hides and played as parents learned more about activities and programs available this summer.
Principal Wendy Woodland said the block party was an event for families to learn about resources and summer activities available in the mountain community. The event offered games and demonstrations for kids, food and lots of fun.
At tables were the Mountain Resource Center, Girl Scouts, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Lil All Stars summer camps, Resilience1220, Macaroni Kid, Peak Academy of Dance, Mountain Youth Rugby, Predator Football and more.
Woodland grilled hot dogs, greeting families as they stopped by to get dinner. This will be Woodland’s last block party, since she is leaving the school to travel around the United States for a year in an RV with her family.
Jeffco Public Schools has announced that Darby Brady, who had been principal at Shelton Elementary School in Golden and before that an assistant principal at The Bergens in Evergreen, will be the new principal.
Inside the gymnasium, Paul and Casey Todd helped their children, Charlotte, 5, and Elliot, 4, put on firefighting clothes and helmets.
“Elliot told me he wants to be a firefighter,” Casey explained, which made trying on the gear that much more important.
“We go to all events at West Jeff Elementary because they’re fun,” she added.
Shannon Konyndyk, the owner of Sojourn Books in Aspen Park, explained her backpack club to sixth graders and their parents. The club is an after-school program at the bookstore where students can play board games, do homework and hang out.
For younger children, Lil All Stars representatives explained their after-school programs and summer camps at the Indian Hills Community Center.
Jake Sonberg, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s district wildlife officer handed out junior ranger badge stickers to children as they identified animal hides and horns. He said it was important to teach children and their parents about living with wildlife — how not to interact with wild animals.
“Kids love to touch the hides and get the badges,” he said. “I’m impressed how much (the children) know about animals.”
As kindergartner Decker Moseley identified a bear hide, mom Katie Moseley said her children love school activities while she loves community involvement.
Jill Ewald agreed.
“My kids love to go to school events,” Ewald said. “They look forward to it.”