By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, MN Are the kids looking for something to do Sunday afternoons? Dassel Church of Christ, located at 100 Parker Ave E, has a variety of outdoor games available every week to help keep area youth active, social, and having fun.
“We wanted to offer something for our community, for our kids to do in the summer,” said Pastor Chris Halstead, who started thinking about the idea while watching local kids play basketball and ride bikes in the church parking lot, and reminiscing about his own childhood.
While growing up in Albert Lea, Halstead’s family lived right across from a community park where activities were happening almost daily, such as kickball, baseball, and basketball, as well as indoor activities in a building on site.
“I enjoyed that when I was a kid and I thought, we don’t really have anything like that through the city that is going on in [Dassel],” Halstead stated.
In response to the need, Dassel Church of Christ purchased its own supply of sporting equipment and kicked off its free summer youth activities June 11, with Halstead and other congregation members supervising.
“We see this as an investment in our youth and in our community,” said Halstead.
The activities start in the small field beside the church at 2 p.m., and while they typically go until 4 p.m., the kids’ energy has sometimes kept the games going until 5 p.m.
About six to 10 kids have shown up every week so far, with bubble balls proving to be the most popular activity.
Bubble balls are inflatable, spherical suits that fit over the participant’s body. The individual is strapped in and holds onto the handles inside the ball.
“Basically, the only thing that comes out are your feet, so you can run around, run into each other, you fall and flip over and roll around,” explained Halstead, adding that the kids were able to play soccer in the bubble balls Sunday, and “they really enjoyed it.”
Some of the other activities that take place are volleyball, flag football, and ultimate Frisbee. Water-based activities may be added in the near future.
If this opportunity grows, and enough community children show up regularly, Halstead said the church may split the weekly event into two age groups that would take place different days of the week.
For the time being, however, area youth entering first grade and older are invited to mix and mingle with their peers through outdoor games every Sunday (excluding holidays).
“We’ll offer it as long as there’s a need for it and participation, or until it gets cold,” said Halstead.
For more information and updates, visit the Dassel Church of Christ Facebook page or call Pastor Halstead (320)-221-6078.