Rochester church provides outdoor entertainment for kids

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BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) — It’s been a strange year for kids, especially when it comes to school.

“A little, but it’s almost completely normal now,” said Evangel United Methodist kids church member Aaron McCright.

Their experiences have all been different.

“Going into high school, the last time I’ve been in a school building was March last year,” said church member and teenager Josh Elgin.

They were really excited about opportunities to socialize safely through their church this winter. Evangel United Methodist in Rochester has hosted outdoor social events for its youth groups to enjoy.

“Sometimes it’s mission projects and serving. Sometimes it’s social. Today, on a nice day, we decided to come out to Oxbox Park,” said Jim Klepper, director of Christian education at Evangel United Methodist.

Sunday, March’s Kids Club Event was a way for the kids to have fun in a year that has been far from it. The group visited Oxbox Park and Zollman Zoo in Byron.

“Super important. It’s been important because kids have been isolated,” Klepper said. “All of our events since COVID started have been outside. We’ve found ways to meet safely.”

“I really like them a lot,” McCright said.

“We’re home schooled so we like it. We have seen a couple friends but not very many,” said church member and Winona resident Bingham Lindberg.

It may be a windy start to spring, but it was the perfect opportunity for kids to see their favorite animals.

“I enjoy the cats. They’re adorable,” said Evelyn Elgin.

“I like the wolf,” said Bingham.

“I like the coyotes,” added his brother, Billy.

“I think the cats and the predators,” McCright said. “I also kinda like the birds.”

“They’re having a great time,” Klepper said. “It’s hard to keep up with them because they’re on the move all the time.”

He says the church has found new ways to minister to the children, from last summer’s drive thru and virtual church camp to online Sunday school lessons and even a children’s TV show.

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