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An estimated 4,000 attended Mooseheart for the third annual Easter Egg Hunt.
Children raced to collect eggs and other goodies that were placed on the Mooseheart Stadium field during the third annual Easter Egg Hunt.
After Mooseheart's third annual Easter Egg Hunt concluded, a number of activities took place inside the campus' Fieldhouse, including a chance to have a free photo taken with the Easter Bunny.
A variety of campus tours took place in conjunction with Mooseheart's third annual Easter Egg Hunt. Among these were tractor-pulled hay rides.
MOOSEHEART, April 3 – In terms of elapsed time, the actual "hunt" in the Mooseheart Easter Egg Hunt takes less than five minutes and is one of the shortest activities hosted on-campus in a calendar year.
But the day encompasses so much more than the dash across to get eggs, pencils, stuffed rabbits and other items on the Mooseheart stadium artificial turf or adjacent grassy areas. There were campus tours, hay rides, face painting and other activities both in the Mooseheart Fieldhouse and on the 1,000-acre campus.
And in its third year, the Easter Egg Hunt has become incredibly popular at Mooseheart. This year, an estimated 4,000 adults and children from throughout the Chicago suburbs attended the event, an increase by 1,000 over 2012.
"I don't know how far people traveled, but I talked to some people from Plainfield," Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said. "They've heard about us and this event and made the journey to participate. When you say it's a free event, that attracts some people. To have 4,000 people is a great showing."
Immediately before the Egg Hunt began, Urwiler asked those who were at Mooseheart for the first time to raise their hands – and many arms were lifted to the sky.
"That was really encouraging," Urwiler said, "not only this event, but also for the other events that are more family-oriented at Mooseheart in the course of the year. We want people to come to our campus, have a positive experience and come out for other events as well."
The Easter Egg Hunt is one of the annual events that Mooseheart provides for all residents of all communities in the area. It joins the campus' hosting of the "Holiday Lights" show from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, car shows, the North Aurora Days "Touch a Truck" show and other events as events where residents can visit the campus, which observes its 100th anniversary this summer.
"It brings great awareness to our campus," Urwiler said. "With the campus tours going on as well, it gave people an opportunity to see and hear, on a beautiful day, more about who we are and what we do."
Activity started early for this year's Easter Egg Hunt. The fields used for the hunt were prepared from 7 a.m. But 10 a.m., the first children arrived with their parents. By 10:30, the egg hunters were allowed onto the fields, where they were split into five different age groups – the youngest being for those aged less than 2 years.
By 11 a.m., Urwiler gave the final countdown and the hunt began. Those collecting plastic eggs and other goodies from Mooseheart's football field did not have much hunting to do – the items were all simply placed atop the FieldTurf surface. Regardless, the human vacuuming of the items lasted just over two minutes.
"People started coming at 9 o'clock," Urwiler said. "It brings you great joy to be in the bleachers and to look down and see the many families and kids and their excitement for their opportunity to participate in the hunt. And then I enjoyed seeing the many families sitting inside on the floor of the fieldhouse or in the bleachers or at a table enjoying time together."
As the children checked their baskets following the egg hunt, the focal points for activity turned to the fieldhouse and the area just outside the fieldhouse, where tractors were hitched to a hay wagon for a campus ride as well as to trams for tours of the campus. Those venturing into the fieldhouse were able to participate in games, crafts, face painting or to eat a free hot dog lunch.
"People stayed until 1 o'clock," Urwiler said. "I had to tell people we were going to have to shut down the pony rides and ask people to go. You hate to have to do that, but it's also good that people were having such a good time that they stayed to enjoy all the things they could do."
On July 27, Mooseheart celebrates its centennial with a series of events, highlighted by a Rededication Ceremony at 11 a.m. Events continue through the day with onstage musical entertainment culminating with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. For more information on the Centennial Celebration or other events at Mooseheart, check www.mooseheart.org.
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.