University of Indianapolis students had the chance to “Go Wild” with their brothers and sisters as Campus Program Board hosted their 11th annual Kids and Sibs weekend Feb. 6-8.
Many events took place during the three days, including a “stuff-a-bear” activity, a showing of “Madagascar 3,” a trip to the Children’s Museum, a magic show and an exotic animal zoo featuring animals such as kangaroos, raccoons, snakes and chinchillas on Sunday morning.
Eighty siblings came to visit, according to Student Activities Director Stephanie Barry. The university mainly sees kids ages 6-8, because nieces, nephews and cousins visit as well, but there are also a handful of older children. Barry said having a wide variety of activities helps keeps everyone entertained.
“We put [the] Dance Marathon on the list, and we offered Cory Bretz’s the Great Greyhound event on Friday night, in case some of the older kids didn’t want to go to the movie,” Barry said. “There was also tennis and a track meet happening on campus. We gave [the kids] those options as well, so they didn’t feel like they had to go to everything and they had choices.”
Barry said that although everyone seemed to enjoy each event, there were a few that were favorites among the siblings.
“For the kids, I think the zoo on Sunday morning was [the favorite]. A lot of them were saying, ‘This was my favorite. I like interacting with the animals.’ As far as the students, I think the magician was,” Barry said.
Freshman psychology and pre-occupational therapy major Katie Mehrlich had the chance to spend this weekend with her younger sister Jessie.
“My sister and I participated in the build-a-bear type activity at check-in. Even though she’s less than two years younger than me, we had a blast, because we are definitely both little kids at heart,” Mehrlich said. “We also went to the magic show, which we both thought was pretty awesome. We were more impressed and entertained than we thought we would be.”
This was the fourth year that Barry has assisted in organizing the Kids and Sibs Weekend, and she said that it has continued to expand.
“You get different students every year. You kind of get the same ones, also, so it’s fun to watch the siblings grow up, too,” Barry said. “It [the event] definitely grows each year, and we have set a good programming model for it. So we know what works with the college student and the sibling.”
The event is designed to connect students with their families, and Mehrlich said spending the weekend with her sister was a great opportunity for both of them.
“My sister enjoyed the weekend! Since she’ll be going here next year, it was a good opportunity for her to see what campus life is like,” Mehrlich said.
According to Barry, the rest of the siblings felt just as positive.
“I haven’t gotten any complaints, so that is a great thing,” Barry said. “We have gotten a few messages from parents that say their children had a blast and are looking forward to next year. Everyone is content, and they want to come back. So they had a good time.”