School is out, the children are bored with nothing to do and the temperatures outside are blazing, so what do you do? Kinston Housing knows how to have fun and is committed to keeping the kids engaged during the summer months. The coordinators of the Jack Rountree Youth Empowerment Program, Fred and Kacci Graham, along with the property manager, Dawn Whitfield, wanted to give the kids an old school experience that some have never had. Thus the Jack Rountree Annual Field Day was born.
In July 2022, Kinston Housing held their 1st Annual Field Day. The children had 13 events to choose from ranging from single person events like the 40 Yard Dash, Egg Race, Potato Sack Race, Softball Throw, and Obstacle Course to the multiple person events such as Hungry, Hungry Hippos, 3-Legged Race, Drop & Pop Relay, Baton Relay Race and the classic Tug of War.
The kids ran, hopped, and maneuvered their way across a painted field of six lanes with Start and Finish lines. The excitement on their faces and cheering from their peers was a release of a long, hot summer but the fun wasn't over yet. After slowing down for constant Gatorade breaks at the drink station and a lunch of grilled hotdogs & chips, the children continued onto the cool down. As the awards committee tallied up scores and prepared the medals and ribbons for the winners, the children finished the festivities with the Water Balloon Toss and Fill it Up/Cup to Cup, where they were able to compete on teams and get a much needed soaking on a 107 degree heat index day. The chuckles of laughter as the water busted and spilled on them was priceless.
The attendance exceeded our expectations with more than 40 children and eighteen volunteers. Community agencies including the Kinston Police Department, Kinston Fire Department, Kinston Public Safety Administration, City of Kinston Public Works, Greene Lamp, The Gate, and Kinston Community Health Center along with Kinston Housing came out and took shifts, working at the various stations showing their support for the event. At times, it seemed that the volunteers had more fun than the kids as they competed with the children, reliving their childhood memories and helping make current and lasting memories with the youth of Jack Rountree.