GREEN TOWNSHIP, NJ – A brisk wind ruffled the Easter Bunny’s ears in Evergreen Park, as small children did everything but hunt for eggs at the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
They were not being unruly, Lauren Wittig explained. The co-leader of Junior Troop 1070 said the Girl Scouts, who run the event as a troop project each year, decided a bunch of little kids running around picking up eggs was not what they wanted, at least not this year.
“Each year the girls decide how to run the event,” Wittig said, noting it is always a little different.
This year they decided “the kids need to earn their eggs.”
Since the park is almost totally flat, finding hidden eggs could be pretty easy.
So the scouts, with some help from younger girls in Troop 930, set up six stations for the little ones to do activities. At the station nearest the parking lot, they attempted to pop balloons, either by stomping on them or sitting on them. Often they were unsuccessful and just as often they were scared when they popped. At another they threw “darts’ at targets. A table was set up with red Solo cups and children had to guess under which the candy was hidden. Special Easter-themed bags were used for sack races. They also had a chance to choose large or small hula hoops, and try to spin them three times for a prize. The scouts also set up a rabbit-ear ring toss. Each station featured a couple of girl scouts to help the smallest children and present them with their eggs.
Some plastic eggs contained candy or stickers, but many held a number that corresponded with prizes, such as more candy or small toys. In charge of prizes were the high school age sons of co-leaders Wittig and Suzanne Lynch, Jake Wittig and John Lynch.
"They have to learn they can help," Lynch said of the boys, who were occasionally besieged by tiny children with their hands out.
“There’s not much candy,” Wittig said. "It’s mostly prizes.”
There was also a table of extra Girl Scouts cookies from the troop sale.
Other scouts, Annie Mohan and Angela Melillo, were painting bunny faces on the children, their fellow scouts and some of the parents. Dawn Costello, sporting a pink nose and facepaint whiskers and teeth, admitted she relishes a chance to embarrass her daughter by being silly.
The Easter Bunny was walking around posing for pictures with the children, although a few were intimidated. Her alter ego, Bridget Fajvin, needed some assistance seeing through the head of the costume.
Parents of scouts and other adults were helping out, but the girls did most the decision making and most of the work, Lynch said.
The scouts also prepared a craft for the children. They could create bags for their eggs and prizes.
Girl Scout parent Donna Pertilli said they expected about 90 children and it seemed that there were at least that many.
“We have more than last year,” she said.
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