MOOSEHEART, March 27 – Hoping for at least decent weather, officials of Mooseheart Child City & School are counting on big numbers of little tykes (and their parents) from throughout the Fox Valley to do just what they did on the Saturday before Easter last spring: vacuum the Mooseheart Stadium artificial turf clean of some 10,000 treat-filled Easter eggs, within just a few minutes.
The Third Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Festivities, to be conducted again completely free of charge, are set to begin at 10 a.m. this Saturday, March 30, at the Mooseheart Fieldhouse/Stadium complex, near the northwest corner of Mooseheart Road and Illinois Route 31 on the Mooseheart campus.
Attendees are invited to arrive anytime after 10 a.m. Saturday, and may enter off either the Mooseheart Road entrance (leading to primary parking at the Fieldhouse or the main Route 31 entrance. There will be staff to direct vehicles at either entrance. There will be a free lunch (hot dog, chips, cookie, water) available inside the Fieldhouse at 11 a.m., along with a petting zoo, and bounce-house and other kid-friendly attractions.
Shortly before 11 a.m., activity will move outside to the Stadium bleachers, where young Easter-egg "hunters" and their parents will receive instructions, and where the Mooseheart Red Ramblers FieldTurf competition playing surface will have been festooned with 10,000 brightly colored plastic eggs filled with candy treats. As in the past, segments of the playing surface will be designated for toddlers (and their parents), for younger children, and for older children.
Then, at 11, Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler will give the "Ready . . . set . . . .GO!" signal, and the Easter-egg hunters will be off and collecting!
Following the "hunt," families may return to the Fieldhouse for the hot-dog lunch.
The initial event in 2011, held on a cold and rainy morning, drew an attendance of about 500; but last year on April 7, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, some 3,000 kids and parents completely encircled the perimeter and flooded the field.
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 210 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.