Great Start Cass County to host annual spring fling event

CASSOPOLIS — Staff at Cass County’s Great Start Collaborative are hopping into spring with an event designed to promote both fun and literacy to area children.

Great Start Cass, a partnership of community leaders, business owners, charitable and faith-based organizations, health and human service agencies, educators and parents working together to provide resources to Cass County families to ensure childhood success, will host its annual spring fling event from 10 a.m. to noon March 20. The event, which will be hosted at the Cass County Council on Aging, 602525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, will feature a scavenger hunt, food, a visit with the Easter Bunny, music and more. If the weather allows, the event will be hosted outdoors on the COA walking track, with masks and social distancing utilized. Otherwise, the spring fling will be hosted as a drive-thru event.

To attend, parents must pre-register for the free event via Eventbrite. The registration link can be found at greatstartcass.org or through the Great Start Cass Facebook page.

“We are hoping this will be an event where families can have fun and not have to worry about anything,” said Anna Carter, Great Start Collaborative director.

The event will serve as the kick-off event for Cass County’s Talking is Teaching, a statewide public awareness campaign to promote the importance of early brain and language development and support parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. To kick off the campaign, Great Start Cass will provide spring fling attendees with bags filled with books and crafts that promote literacy, as well as hosting a scavenger hunt related to Talking is Teaching.

In addition to reading and literacy materials, participating children will find easter eggs. Some lucky guests will receive a golden egg and a chance to win a family pass to the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend.

The spring fling is an annual tradition for Great Start. In a typical year, it is hosted indoors at the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District building. However, last year, the event had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the time to plan this year’s spring fling rolled around, Carter and parent liaison Stephanie Knepple were determined to host the event — even if significant changes had to be made.  Both thanked the COA for becoming a partner in hosting the event.

“We decided to do this in any way that we can,” Carter said.

“With everything going on, we still think this is an important event,” Knepple added. “Literacy and family interaction are important.”

Both Knepple and Carter said they would encourage families to sign up for the spring fling.

“Let’s kick off spring,” Carter said.

“Bring out the whole family,” Knepple added. “This is a way to get out of the house in a safe way.”

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