A Successful Tree-Climbing Day in the Park of the Schoenstatt Center Trier
It was a spontaneous idea for spring when nature is most beautiful: to provide an experience of community and of joy being together, of nature and supernature, children and families. A suitable date seemed to be the Sunday before the traditional “Arbor Day” (on April 25 of each year). The fact that this day coincided with the relaxation of coronavirus rules and regulations was a perfect coincidence. And since experience is the best way to learn, we designed a program for the day that matched the children’s interests: the opportunity to try out new things, to move, and to be challenged.
We enlisted the help of a professional tree climber who could instruct the children in safe tree climbing. There were plenty suitable trees, ancient and tall. The children could attach pictures of trees to wooden discs, practice tree drumming on the redwood tree, hunt for clues with binoculars, and practice on the slacklines attached from one tree to another. The many possibilities our park offers to hide and to play, to seek and to find were put to abundant use. Each rally in the park concluded in the shrine with a mini-catechesis on the Easter candle, writing a note that was put into the container in the shrine, and lighting a candle. And as a reward there was a chocolate bunny, fitting for Easter.
In order to avoid long queues at the respective stations we offered, we scheduled the beginning of the program for 1:00 pm. Shortly before one o‘clock the first famlies arrived. In the next 30 minutes the park was filled. That afternoon there was jumping and shouting, joy and life like hardly ever before (in that park). The heavens did their part so that there were no storms or accidents that afternoon. There were hundreds of happy faces to be seen. Even the waiting time under the tree was entertaining and exciting.
Neighborly help was capitalized on (not only) this afternoon! Butter and eggs for more waffle batter had to be organized quickly. More cakes were needed. More than 160 children and at least as many adults were not expected. I wonder where they all came from?
Later it was determined that parents had spontaneously invited freinds and relatives on social media. The photos of the children climbing trees was the best advertisement. This robust children’s day became a neighborhood and family day of joy. The children were able to test their patience and courage under the eyes of God and the Blessed Mother. And the parents and helpers probably had as much fun with the children’s activities as the children themselves.
Yet that evening, the first THANK YOU arrived by email. It said:
“We had a lot of fun and my daughter is really excited that she climbed a tree.”
The Lotto Foundation Rhineland-Palatinate let us know: “We were happy to help with a donation.”