Camp Zama Easter Egg Sling models fun, safe behavior

The Easter Bunny receives a mask adjustment during the Easter Egg Sling at Camp Zama, Japan, April 11, 2020.
The Easter Bunny receives a mask adjustment during the Easter Egg Sling at Camp Zama, Japan, April 11, 2020.

Camp Zama Easter Egg Sling models fun, safe behavior

by Winifred Brown
US Army Garrison - Japan

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 14, 2020) – The Easter Bunny wore a mask and practiced social distancing during the Easter Egg Sling here April 11, but most of all, he modeled correct COVID-19 behavior by showing everyone how to continue to have fun.

The event began at 2 p.m. at Sagamihara Family Housing Area with the Easter Bunny on the back of a truck, along with a team of masked-and-gloved cohorts who threw plastic eggs filled with goodies to families socially distanced on their lawns. Residents laughed, waved and gathered the eggs as the truck went by.

Then the truck headed to the Zama Middle High School football field on Camp Zama, where the Easter Bunny and his team dismounted and slung eggs with a slingshot to families socially distanced next to cones on the field. After that, the team continued on the truck and threw eggs to residents throughout Camp Zama.

In the end, members of the team gave away nearly 2,500 eggs, and it was difficult to tell who had the most fun—the children, the adults or those who threw eggs.

Irene Ramos attended at the football field with her husband Frankie Gonzalez and their daughter Mei, 15 months, who toddled over to the eggs, picked them up and showed her parents.

“This was a pretty good idea,” Ramos said, acknowledging it was an alternative to a traditional Easter egg hunt. “It’s good for the kids.”

Athena Wheeler, meanwhile, an administrative assistant for Camp Zama FMWR who threw eggs from the truck, said it was “really a blast” to participate.

“It’s just neat to see the community come out and be excited about something,” Wheeler said. “Even though everybody’s really worried about COVID, it’s great to have everybody get out of their houses to do something fun and take their minds off of it for a little while. That’s the goal here.”

The Easter Egg Sling is one of several initiatives by Camp Zama FMWR’s Community Immunity Team, which aims to improve the community’s morale, and therefore immunity against COVID-19, by keeping people engaged and united.

Lucinda Ward, Camp Zama school liaison officer, is the head of the team, and she also participated in the Easter Egg Sling by throwing eggs from the truck.

“This has been awesome,” Ward said. “Just to see the looks on their faces is just amazing.”

Members of the team have been great about coming up with ideas and thinking outside the box, Ward said, and after Rick Bosch, Camp Zama FMWR director, came up with the idea for the event, they ran with it.

Bosch, who attended the Easter Egg Sling with his 7-year-old daughter, said he just planted a little seed with the team, and “they gave it sunshine, water and some really great flair.”

“The event was met with such an excitement across the community,” Bosch said. “It was fun to watch it livestream on Facebook and see the hundreds of smiles this generated during a time that we can all use more things to levitate us and lift our spirits.”

Making it even better, his daughter called it the “best Easter ever,” Bosch said.

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