A Family Who Plays Together, Stays Together

Pack up the seniors, the toddlers and the teens because there are lots of free, Family Week events.

A nation-wide celebration, Family Week runs Monday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 13, and in the Yukon there are events taking place in five communities: Carmacks, Destruction Bay, Teslin, Watson Lake and Whitehorse.

A schedule on page 6 of this very paper lays out all the free fun and free dinners to be had.

There are even prizes. So, in addition to a dinner and games night (Watson Lake, Oct. 9), a carnival (Carmacks, Oct. 10), and a celebration of our ancestors and family tree (Destruction Bay, Oct. 11), those who attend events in any of the communities can add their name to a draw to win a mini vacation.

First prize is a free RV weekend vacation from Fraserway RV, and second prize is a night of viewing the northern lights from Northern Tales.

In Whitehorse and Teslin there is stuff to do every single day of the Family Week.

In Teslin, Patty Wiseman has organized a bunch of fun activities to catch the interest of all ages, including the teenagers and the seniors. She is the manager of the Teslin Tlingit Council Early Learning and Child Care Centre, and at the last crib tournament she discovered that crib could get the teens and the seniors wound up. So crib will be one of the many games available to play at the Family Games Night on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Teslin Recreation Complex.

“Some of the younger people wanted to learn, so they were playing with the seniors,” Wiseman says. “So it’s bridging that gap.”

On the same evening, there will be a Family Games Night taking place at Takhini Elementary School in Whitehorse.

Another all-generation event is the scavenger hunt in Teslin on Wednesday, Oct. 9. For two years Wiseman has been developing a weeklong super-scavenger hunt — but she is only using a fraction of her master plan for the Wednesday event. It will only take a couple of hours, will start after dinner and end in time to get the kids in their jammies and off to bed.

“The scavenger hunt takes a loop through town, and you have to find something, do something, and find somebody — sometimes all at the same time,” Wiseman says.

They’ll get up to some crazy antics: looking for abandoned socks and singing O Canada to strangers, for example.

There could be some craziness at the Family Dance on Friday, too.

“The dance can get pretty chaotic with the younger kids — we’ll have two-year-olds flying around the building for five hours with multitudes of parents and adults following around behind them,” Wiseman says.

Here’s the pattern: teens get the music and dancing going; little kids follow them; then the seniors duck out into the hallway for a peaceful game of crib while parents follow their kids onto the dance floor.

The teens keep the energy going because they do the DJing.

“We often let the kids pick the music — they all show up with their iPods and our only rule is the language has to be clean,” Wiseman says. “We’ve got DJ equipment set up and it’s a matter of popping in the different iPods.”

At the last Family Dance, the teens couldn’t get enough of Korean artist Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style.”

“They played it over and over and over again,” Wiseman says.

After three or four times in a row Wiseman came to the rescue of the adults in the room, and made the teens played something different. Which they did. But a few songs later they came back to “Gangnam Style.” Just like a billion people watching it on YouTube.

Anyway, it made memories for the whole family. This year the Family Week organizers, led by Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services, are aiming for the same thing: bonding together through good times and making memories together.

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