Every summer, as the sun goes down and the stars come out, usually about a hundred neighbors gather together for kickball and an outdoor movie near the Potawatomi Park neighborhood.
Woodbury families come for the makeshift drive-in and evening of family-friendly events.
The neighborhood event first began about 4 years ago — brainchild of Dave Peters: dad, baseball coach, writer, and Cub Scout Master. For the past few years, kickball and movie night is organized one evening in July for the locals, also known as “The Park Hill Players."
This year, Peters decided to make it a Cub Scout Pack event for a couple reasons. He explained:
“One, the neighborhood response to the event has been so positive I wanted to make sure it continues in the event that I’m unable to organize it. Two, the Pack needs more community presence in the neighborhood they live in. In doing so, I hope the community will be more apt to support the Cub Scouts in the fall when the boys in blue are selling holiday wreaths and decore."
In these four summers, Peters has worked hard to make the family kick-ball and movie become a popular family tradition for many. The annual event was scheduled for Friday the 13th this year. Due to bad storms, power outages in the area (and the date’s namesake), it was postponed for the following night — Saturday.
The Peters family generously provides the movie, the sound system, their dedication, and labor. Dave, with the help of neighbors has shown movies on white bed sheets up to this year.
One neighbor at the event said it isn’t something you get to do much anymore. When she was a kid, summer memories were made when dad would take them to the drive-in. For a young generation, it’s a new tradition.
Cub Scout Master, Dave Peters salutes traditions and treasures:
“Kick Ball & Movie Night is an effort to provide kids with something more like we parents used to have when we were children. In my day, the kids in the neighborhood all went to the same school. Everyone knew each other. Everyone played together. The neighborhood ball-field always had a group of kids playing the seasonal sport and the ponds were kept clear in the winter for hockey or broomball."
“As a result," Peters says, “the kids in the neighborhood were a pretty tight group and could immediately identify any irregularities to their world; whether it be a strange dog, a person or even a change to playground equipment”.
Peters addresses the changes in our neighborhoods.
“Fast forward a few decades, during the school year four different buses pick up near my house and my children walk to school. Now neighborhood kids are just not familiar enough with one another and the safety aspect isn't there”.
Uniting for the sake of the neighborhood children is a hope for the Peter’s family…at least for part of the summer. He continues:
“Kick Ball & Movie Night is an attempt at uniting neighborhood kids. It's held every year after the Woodbury Area Little League (WALL) is finished. The event signals to the neighborhood that the park is ours again, that it will no longer be inhabited six nights a week with outsiders — well at least until April when the baseball season begins again."
The Night of the Event
You have the comfort of walking, driving or cycling to the neighborhood park. You have the fresh air, and can meet people. It’s just a friendly atmosphere.
The folks in the vicinity come not only for the children to play but also for the ambiance of being outdoors and seeing the night sky. If it starts to sprinkle, people don’t move. They don’t care about it. Kids will wear their pajamas and sleep or bring their tents and blankets. Everyone has a great time. Everyone has a big smile on their face, especially first timers. Little children are just awestruck by it.
Cub Scout Pack 513 provided a 40' x 20' screen so that we would have a better viewing backdrop. No more battling with bed-sheets and clothespins.
According to Dave Peters, another Woodbury Pack has said they like the idea so much that they're going to conduct their own Kick Ball & Movie event.
Bravo Scouts, Bravo Peters & The Park Hill Players!