Sharing is caring at annual egg hunt event in Portage

April 15, 2019

As if a superhero to the rescue, 5-year-old Wyatt Wade charged across the snowy field to check in on his friend, Aden Lain, also 5.

Wyatt showed off a full bag of Easter eggs, then pulled one from his collection and without hesitation shared the egg — and the piece of candy inside — with his friend.

The boys hugged and ran off together, side by side, to scour the land for more eggs.

About 60 children showed out in force Saturday to partake in the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Our House Senior Living in Portage, said Community Director Dawn Koeppel.

“The residents have a blast,” Koeppel said.

Volunteers from the Portage Future Farmers of America organization and staff at Our House Senior Living prepared the dewy field around 7 a.m. in anticipation for the arrival of scores of curious children eager to find all 900 eggs.

Koeppel said the annual event — six years in a row and counting — gets bigger every year and is intended to give community members, families and senior residents a chance to interact and have something to do outside of their daily routines.

Portage FFA member Jenna Zick said Our House Senior Living helps with fundraisers and supports the members to travel to events out of state, so it felt like a good chance to give back through offering volunteer service.

Zick added that participating in events is a good way for community members to get to the know the students.

“It’s just a fun thing to do,” said Ashley Grabowski, also an FFA officer.

Grabowski said it’s rewarding for high school students to complete volunteer work.

Kyla Hopper, another FFA officer and Wyatt’s older sister, volunteered for the first time at Our House on Saturday.

“I think FFA needs to be a part of their community,” she said.

Wyatt said after the hunt he wasn’t sure he could count high enough to take inventory of his bag full of eggs. But he can count to 150.

“Really good,” Wyatt said of how it felt to participate with his friends.

Wayne Barnes, a resident at Our House, said it was “very invigorating” to see all the children come visit and play.

He enjoyed seeing FFA students help out, too, as the children raced laps around the legs of their adult guardians.

Marlie Young, 6, spotted a news reporter chatting up the Easter Bunny and hopped over to greet them, showing off her balloon flower sculpture that Wisconsin Dells-based entertainer Gil Welch made for her.

“It was cool. I liked it. I really liked it,” she said, adding she found lots and lots of eggs.

Welch said he’s been helping out with the annual egg hunt for two years, and it never gets old seeing faces light up like 3-year-old Eleanor Schultz, who squealed and jumped up and down with excitement as Welch crafted a balloon animal for her.

Children also got to enjoy face painting and coloring book activities, along with unlimited Hawaiian Punch and all-you-can-eat cookies.

“It gives back to people,” Welch said. “The local community children and residents have something to do.”