By Katherine Rosario, Fort Riley Public AffairsOctober 22, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Children of all ages searched through a patch of small, round pumpkins that dotted the field behind the Army Community Service building Oct. 16 to pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home and carve.
The Exceptional Family Member Program's pumpkin patch event gave away more than 160 pumpkins and included a Family day of arts and crafts and hayrack rides.
About 326 people attended the event for EFMP and New Parent Support Program members. Families could either walk to the pumpkin patch or take a horse-drawn carriage ride down to the field.
Kaia Seeley, 2, did her best to hold both her chips and the pumpkin she picked out from the field before she ran toward her mother, Thea Seeley, to show her.
"We came out here for the kids to get pumpkins, and later, we will either carve the pumpkins or put stickers on them," Thea Seeley said.
Jennifer Villalpando, an Army spouse, said she and her Family are new to Fort Riley and attended the event to meet new people.
"Since we're new, I wanted to get out and see what programs were offered. The pumpkin patch is great and close (to home)," Villalpando said.
After gathering up pumpkins for carving and decorating, children participated in arts and craft activities like making spider bracelets, decorating door hangers and making beaded necklaces.
Cassidi Poston, 2, took her turn swinging a stick at a spider piAfA+-ata, while other children ate pumpkin pudding.
Laurie McCauley, EFMP program manager, said she appreciated parents taking the time to bring their children to the event.
"They're the ones that take the time to get the kids ready, and parents are doing good parenting activities to keep their children involved," she said. "It was a beautiful day, and I think the Families really enjoyed the horses. It was the first time we've had them."
Toiane Taylor, NPSP home visitor, said NPSP partnered up with EFMP because both programs share many of the same Families.
"The event was larger than last year, and we even ran out of pumpkins toward the end of the day," Taylor said.
For more information on EFMP or NPSP, call ACS at 785-239-9435.