By Anne Eickstadt, REPORTER

 “This is the Halloween Carnival,” Belvidere Family YMCA CEO Jenni Jacky said. “Really, we try to give back to the community and have fun with the kids.” The gym at the Y was set up with ball toss games, bean bag toss games, bingo, bozo buckets, bowling, and ring tosses. The young volunteers attending the games had as much fun as the guests and handed out prizes to each child who attempted the game. The volunteers were members of the Key Club at Belvidere North High School and YMCA Camp kids. The Carnival ran from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. Crowds poured through the doorway exactly at 6:30 p.m. Then, guests tried to guess the number of candies in a jar, before happily moving from one game to another or wait for the face painting artist to create beautiful designs. “There are lots of great costumes. It’s such a fun event,” guest Mindy Kopald said, as she shifted her 2-year-old daughter in her arms. “It’s a great free event. We’re having a great time playing games. There are lots of nice volunteers.” Friday’s young volunteers included: Vanessa Atiland, Elle Maville, Yesenia Morales, Areli Sierra, Kimberly Mis, Jack Stolb, Reese Choon, Stella Gaines, Rebecca Chu, Kaydence Watson, Brianna Young and Garret Nelson.

Members of the community still streamed into the Halloween Carnival at 7 p.m. to join in the fun. This was a testament that the Belvidere Family YMCA succeeded in listening and responding to the community’s needs. It brought people together and connected people of all ages and backgrounds. By nurturing potential, the Y encourages youth development and making smarter life choices. They cultivate their relationships, skills, and values. The Y has a local presence and provides people with opportunities to volunteer, to give back, and to support the community. All the people who arrived to join in the event and supported the Y and had fun, showed how well the YMCA reached out to their community.

Face painting at the YMCA Costume Carnival.

Face painting at the YMCA Costume Carnival.

“We’re happy about how popular this event is this year,” Jacky said. “This is the busiest one [Halloween Carnival] yet. What we want to do is have a family friendly environment with something for the kids to do on a Friday night. It’s something we do a couple of times a year. Our next big event will be ‘Home Town Christmas.’ It’s so popular that the crowd will be out the door.”

The Belvidere Family YMCA is located at 220 W. Locust St. in Belvidere. Find out more about what they are all about, their classes, and events, by visiting:


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