On Sunday, Aug. 8, a crowd of more than 350 children plus adults came to the second-annual, highly visible "SunnyCity" Ventura Park in Portland, Ore., providing outreach to the Portland Metro area. The event was sponsored by the Sunnyside (Ore.) Church.
Natalia Gramada, leader, and a volunteer cast turned the park into "SunnyCity" with nearly 30 stations. Participants were welcomed at the "visitors center" and received a pen, shopping bag, passport and a brochure about life in "SunnyCity."
A knowledgeable, friendly guide then answered questions. A "bank" provided money (tickets) to use. At the end of one's visit to "SunnyCity," money had to be paid back with interest. Children earned more tickets by investing smartly. Remaining tickets could be used to buy souvenirs.
Portland's Police Bureau provided a "police station," allowing children to pet a dog from the Canine Unit, take pictures and sit on a real police motorcycle. The horse patrol allowed children to pet, ride and have their picture taken on a horse. Police educated children and parents about safety issues.
A "fire station" had a fire engine and firemen providing close-up, hands-on experiences.
There were a variety of activities at each station, including a "hospital" sponsored by Adventist Medical Center, which used trivia games with health-related questions; a "travel agency," which provided artifacts and trips to Bible lands; a Sunnyside Church booth, which featured great stories and prayer requests; a "museum," which gave an eye-opening, brief presentation of the Tabernacle; a "library," where Steps to Christ and Planet in Rebellion were given away; the "art gallery" provided a place to create paintings and origami; and a "music hall" provided music played on a variety of interesting instruments.
At the end of their visit, children received a certificate of citizenship.
Volunteers heard parents calling others, on-the-spot, urging them to come over to the "fun, interesting and free" event.