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College hosts younger siblings

Tabitha Ricketts | Monday, March 25, 2013

Saint Mary’s College welcomed a variety of young faces to campus to celebrate Little Sibs Weekend with several days of circus-themed activities.

“I brought my brother to Little Sibs last year, and I really wanted to be a part of it this year,” sophomore Chloe Derank, co-chair of Special Events for the Residence Hall Association (RHA), said. “I was reading ‘Water for Elephants,’ and I was like, ‘We should have a circus!’ and that’s what we ended up picking.”

The weekend was an opportunity for Saint Mary’s students to share their campus with younger siblings and relatives, including spending a night in the residence halls.

Events began with registration at 5 p.m. on Friday, where participants received a t-shirt that displayed the circus theme. The group ate s’mores and played board games in Regina Friday evening, Derank said.

Derank said Saturday’s circus in Regina North Lounge drew the largest crowd. She estimated about 120 siblings showed up, accompanied by around 75 Saint Mary’s hosts.

“From 9 [a.m.] to 12 [p.m.] we had a circus with a bunch of different games, and [the siblings] could get prizes and snacks,” Derank said. “We had this game called ‘Spray Away’ … and I think that was probably the biggest hit.”

Sophomore Kaitie Maierhofer coordinated “Spray Away,” a game that allowed the younger siblings to squirt water at her. She also hosted her own siblings for the weekend.

“‘Spray Away’ went really well,” she said. “I don’t know if [the siblings] enjoyed squirting me or the balls more, but it worked out.”

Other attractions included magic shows, a temporary-tattoo parlor, a photo booth and slushies, first-year Maureen Hutchinson, fellow RHA Special Events co-chair, said.

In the afternoon, siblings had the opportunity to make their own Chex Mix and color Easter-themed coloring pictures for arts and crafts, Hutchinson said. After, the group visited Dance Marathon, a dance-themed fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in the Angela Athletic Facility.

“We did a scavenger hunt through there with [the siblings], and got to see all the fun stuff,” Derank said.

Saturday’s activities concluded with an evening showing of the DreamWorks picture “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”

The weekend ended Sunday morning with an obstacle course for the siblings to play on.

“It was really fun,” Maierhofer said. “In my personal experience, [it was] better than last year. My sister had more fun this year than she did last year.”

Derank said her participation in last year’s event inspired her to become involved with planning this year’s weekend.

“A lot of the ideas for things came from Pinterest,” Hutchinson said. “The crafts [especially].”

Little Sibs Weekend accommodated visitors ranging from around one year old to 18 years old, Derank said.

“I think we did a pretty good job [of entertaining with that age range],” she said. “I think the circus was able to do that a lot.”

Maierhofer said she and her sister enjoyed the flexibility of the weekend.

“It works out well, knowing that you can do all of the activities, or just have your sibling come out and just [enjoy the weekend] with them,” Maierhofer said.

Despite the inevitable stress involved with planning, Derank and Hutchinson said they felt the success of the weekend was worth it.

“The best part was a little kid, probably 3 or 4, [getting] his T-shirt at registration,” Derank said. “His sister held up the shirt … and he got so excited because there was a circus animal on it … and that was just the best moment.”