Orillia Ontario: Few would argue that the 2011 spring season has been cold, wet and windy. Even for those who love the great outdoors, it has been a challenge to get outside and have fun. However, on Saturday April 30th, under beautiful sunny skies, over 250 children took part in the 15th annual OPP Kids Day at Tudhope Park in Orillia. Best of all, everyone had a blast taking part in various games of skill, chance and even some that tested their fishing knowledge.
Thanks to the OPP, Orillia emergency personnel and local area volunteers, this event was another huge success. Sergeant Frank Kreisz of the OPP, who has coordinated this event on behalf of the Orillia Chamber of Commerce for all of the 15 years remarked, “Everyone involved with this event knows how important it is for kids to take time out from their computer games, social networking and other indoor activities ... and to just get outside and have fun. That’s what the goal of this event has always been, and once these kids start playing in our beautiful lakeshore park - they have a ball.”
Every child received prizes courtesy of the Orillia Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, and the OPP Commissioned Officers Association. Each child also enjoyed a hotdog and drink courtesy of the local Abernathy's Foodland.
The OPP Kids Day is always held the Saturday before closing of the popular Orillia Perch Festival which marked it’s the 30th Anniversary this year. Kreisz, who is an avid recreational angler, has definitely left his mark on this, the signature event of the Perch Festival. He has incorporated games where kids have to identify various fish species, lure identification and conservation quizzes into the program. “Even casting for lawn sharks has become one of the many fun games we play with the kids,” says Kreisz.
Many of the kids who participated in this event also take part in the Orillia Perch Festival. Kreisz told us, “Although many these kids fish the Festival with their families this one day is set aside especially for them, and the kids love it. “ So too do the OPP volunteers and others who help out. “We have had so many folks helping us over the years and without them also having such a great time this would never happen year after year. It’s a very rewarding experience for everyone involved,” concluded Kreisz.