Environmental Factor, July 2008, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Another Successful Fun-Filled Family Day
By Shannon Baker
Sounds of laughter, popular music from local DJ's and smells of summer grilling on the patio of the NIEHS Rall Building were not the only things attracting employees and their families to come out for the 3rd Annual Family Day Celebration. However, they were enough to transform the auditorium, patio, cafeteria and lakefront from scientific business as usual into a carnival-like playground for kids of every age. The event, organized by Dona McNeil and the Work Life Committee, was held on June 3.
The "Visit North Carolina" travel booths and arts and crafts table were a great start for the program. The 24 booths showcased some of North Carolina's most popular resorts, wineries, tourist attractions and recreational activities. Several vendors promoted their businesses, while children flocked to the arts and crafts table to take part in "a day at the beach" themed crafts. Sand buckets and metallic rimmed sunglasses were everywhere as children made sunvisors and played with animal-shaped balloons.
Outside on the patio, fellow co-workers participated in ice cooler relay races, water glove tosses, a cake walk and other games. NIEHS Acting Director Sam Wilson, M.D., welcomed everyone and encouraged participation in the events. He also recognized the planning committee and volunteers responsible for the day's events, as well as thanked everyone for coming out for Family Day.
The cake walk attracted over 20 participants with half of them walking away winners. Winners included Office of the Director Chief of Staff Ebony Bookman, Ph.D., and DIR Special Volunteer Heather Olden who took home pound, lemon and chocolate cakes as prizes. The Wii games in the lobby, as well as Bingo, were also popular attractions as people rushed inside to escape the heat of the day.
The cafeteria offered a discounted menu featuring hot dogs, hamburgers and subs to replenish those getting ready to put their game faces on in the Annual Family Day Softball Tournament. Family Day was a fun-filled event and a good time was had by those who attended. Remembering the atmosphere of laughter and frolic, McNeil commented, "We saw lots of smiles and heard numerous comments about what a great time people had."
(Shannon Baker is a rising senior at Peace College in Raleigh who spent a three-week internship in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison. She is currently working part time in the NIEHS Office of the Director.)