THE EASTER BUNNY and his helpers plan to hide thousands of eggs at Mount Airy's Watkins Park this weekend.
The annual rite of spring is sponsored by Mount Airy Jaycees. Children from toddlers to age 12 are invited to hunt for the colorful eggs beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
"Just watching the kids race across the park hunting for the eggs is worth all the work," said event coordinator Mike Quinn. "It's literally like a wave of kids, and the hunt itself takes less than five minutes."
This year, 2,500 eggs filled with candy will be hidden. Lucky children will find eggs with messages inside instructing them to claim prizes. The hunt will feature a jellybean guessing jar and a raffle for a grand prize.
Pictures with the Easter Bunny will be available at the pavilion in the park for a fee. The Easter egg hunt will be held rain or shine.
Mount Airy Jaycees finance and plan the annual event and other activities during the year. But while Mount Airy's population is growing rapidly, the Jaycees' local membership is at an all-time low.
The group has 20 members, the minimum to continue membership in the national Jaycees.
"We not only sponsor events like Kid's Day and the annual Halloween parade, but we try to help people in our community," said Denise Morgan, vice president of membership for Mount Airy Jaycees.
"We do the Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for people in need whether they're just going through a rough time or need help all year round," Morgan said. "We also help fire victims. I see what we do as giving back to our community."
The Jaycees also sponsor the annual town cleanup day, hold huge yard sales in the spring and fall and buy books for all kindergarten pupils at Mount Airy and Twin Ridge elementary schools.
"I think the reason we're having trouble attracting new members is the time commitment," Morgan said. "But in fact, you can give as little or as much time as you want, and the plus side is that parents can bring their kids with them to most events we sponsor. I think it teaches my daughter a responsibility to community."
Quinn, who joined the group four years ago, finds the leadership development an invaluable aspect of his membership.
"It gave me a chance to pick up the leadership skills to put together a team to get a project completed. There's also the opportunity to take leadership classes on the state and national levels. I think for a person early in his or her career the experience can be great," Quinn said.
"I also liked the service aspect," said the Mount Airy father of eight. "I wanted to do something to feel involved in my community and not be overwhelmed. You can choose what you want to be involved in."
Information on the Jaycees: Denise Morgan, 301-829-6328.
Art to fight hunger
Local residents are encouraged to flex their art skills and try their hand at ceramics to raise money for local food banks.
South Carroll High School Student Government Association is sponsoring its third annual Empty Bowls Banquet in May. The money raised will be donated to Carroll County Human Services to fight hunger in the county.
The community is being asked to go to South Carroll High School on Tuesdays next month to make ceramic bowls that will be auctioned at the banquet.
"It's really a lot of fun and all for a good cause," said Cara Ober, co-chairwoman of the event. "As an art teacher, it's great to work with people who don't always have a chance to be creative."
The public can make the ceramic bowls for free. Materials were purchased through a grant from the State Department of Education. Budding artists can try their skills from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the school's art department. No appointment is necessary.
The Empty Bowls Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 10 at the school. Tickets will be available at the door.
Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.