Relatives converge upon Messiah for annual Family Weekend

By Joel Hoover

For many parents and family members, the transition of a loved one going to college and away from home is a major–and sometimes difficult–change to their lives.

But for one weekend at Messiah College, families were able to come together again for all to experience the college setting.

This past weekend, Messiah held its annual Family Weekend event, giving families of students the opportunity to come visit them and experience a wide range of campus-run activities. The relatives were greeted by a wonderful weekend of good weather, delicious food, and choices aplenty for events to participate in.

“There’s lots to do,” said Deb Jones, the mother of Trevor and Victoria Jones, as their family enjoyed a photo booth at the Family Fun Fair. “It’s just fun being with our kids.”

The weekend kicked off with a special “Movie on the Green” on Friday evening, which run by SAB Lost Films. The film, How To Train Your Dragon 2, was shown on a giant screen set up on the Eisenhower Lawn, which drew a massive crowd of students and parents with blankets eager to see the special outdoor showing. The movie was also shown at Parmer Cinema on four occasions through the day Saturday.

The following day was the centerpiece day of the Family Weekend, with carnival-type activities and sporting events among the many options for families to attend. A Parents’ Fellowship Breakfast started the morning in the Larsen Student Union for the parents of many students to be able to interact with each other and enjoy some delicious food.

Out at the Yellow Breeches Creek, a fleet of canoes were assembled next to the Covered Bridge for some morning canoeing. Boats of two or three people were launched to go on a canoeing trip down Messiah’s local creek to give families a chance to enjoy the nature that surrounds Messiah’s campus.

Back on the campus itself, the women’s basketball team sponsored a Mini Golf Tournament for families to participate in, which was held in Hitchcock Arena. Over in the Jordan Science Center, the Oakes Museum was also open to allow families a chance to explore the natural history stored away in its showcases.

One of the day’s biggest attractions was the Family Fun Fair held outside the Larsen Student Union. With music playing in the background, families had the chance to see animals at a petting zoo, get henna tattoos, do a variety of arts and crafts, and get their picture taken at a photo booth. As the heat climbed outside, a water ice truck was also on the spot to provide a cool treat for everyone.

Vicki Wolf-Book, the mother of senior Rachel Book, took a break from the festivities to allow her henna tattoo to have a chance to dry on her forearm. She has been coming to the Family Weekend for four years now.

“I get to see (Rachel)’s cluster, the other girls on her floor, and their parents every year,” she said. “I’ve met the girls and it’s nice to meet their parents–I live close (to Messiah), so it’s nice to see them since they live far away.”

Even Messiah professors were on campus on their day off with their families to enjoy the festivities. Communication professor Kate Simcox was with her two young daughters at the fair, where they got to pet animals, hold the chicks–without any “casualties”–and enjoy the movie.

“It’s really wonderful to have family activities that I can bring my kids to so they can see a little bit more of campus life,” she said, while her daughters quietly enjoyed some water ice.

Sporting events were in full swing all over campus on Saturday as well. The men’s and women’s tennis teams opened their fall seasons in Grantham, with the women claiming a 5-4 win over Gettysburg and the men falling just short to the Bullets by a 4-5 count. In women’s volleyball, Messiah were defeated 0-3 by Haverford in Hitchcock, while the field hockey team lost a close game with The College of New Jersey by a score of 3-4. The women’s soccer team capped the day of sporting action at home with a thrilling 1-0 victory in 2OT over Misericordia in front of a crowd of over 2700 at Shoemaker Field.

The final event of the big day was a special edition of Coffeehouse, held in front of a massive crowd in Brubaker Auditorium. Families were treated to one of Messiah’s signature performance events, as a wide variety of student acts had the chance to perform on stage for the big crowd.

Family Weekend continues to be an integral part of the fabric of Messiah College. It is not only an opportunity for students and families to reconnect within the campus the students populate, but also for families to learn about the people and families connected to their student as a part of their college experience.

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