ABC’s Play Day Induces Playfulness
“It’s hard to get adults to do things,” says Phoebe Sinclair, Community Liaison for Agassiz Baldwin Community (ABC). “Usually they just stand around and eat food and watch the children.” However, adults at ABC’s annual Play Day seem to transform from observers into participants with unexpected ease. Perhaps it’s because ABC’s Executive Director Terry DeLancey greets each guest with a balloon. Perhaps it’s the smell of melted butter that beckons guests toward an old-fashioned popcorn cart where kernels pop in a merry chorus alongside platters of juicy watermelon slices. Perhaps it’s the laughter echoing from the bocce court or the rainbows dancing across the giant bubbles that drift through the shady backyard.
Whatever the cause, collective engagement is at the heart of this celebration. Play Day is subtitled “A Community Party” because, according to Sinclair, the event is “a way for people to celebrate that they are part of this community, and a way for the ABC staff to show our appreciation for the community.” The many activities are designed to entertain children, adults with children, and adults without children. The afternoon festivities include West African music from Mohamed Kalifa Kamara, large foam blocks perfect for toddler-sized structures, a photo booth with Cambridge photographer Dennis O’Reilly, a raffle and a silent auction for prizes donated by local businesses, and a collaborative mural. Last year, Sinclair was pleasantly surprised to see more adults than children working on the mural.
This intergenerational party is also an opportunity for the participants from ABC’s many programs—the Sacramento Street Preschool, Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool, Outback Summer Program, the Agassiz Neighborhood Council, the Living Well Network, and Maud Morgan Arts—to get to know one another and to learn what else ABC has to offer. Any learning that may occur, however, will happen in the spirit of Play Day. “No speeches,” DeLancey promises, a bouquet of balloons in each fist. “This is just for fun.”
“Play Day: A Community Party” takes place on Saturday, June 15 from 1-4 pm at 20 Sacramento Street in Cambridge.