Pot ‘O Gold scramble: Y youngsters enjoy special St. Pat’s celebration


In among all the St. Patrick’s Day parties and festivities recently, there probably weren’t many to touch the Y’s kids’ Pot O’ Gold hunt for sheer cuteness overload.

For the previous few days, mischievous leprechauns had been spreading messages and leaving clues about what would happen at noon on Friday, March 17 – nuggets of “gold” would be strategically hidden in the playground of the Y’s Early Learning (pre-school) program.

When the time came, the green-clad youngsters filed out of their classrooms and then dashed to all corners of the playground to find pieces of shiny loot. Giggles and screeches of delight announced each new discovery.

Liliana Anderson, Harper Pepper and Lana Glutting show their delight at picking up gold loot.

Spoiler: They were actually gold-painted pebbles, but there was no denying the allure of spotting and picking them up.

“I got two already,” said blonde, blue-eyed Harper Pepper, 3, just seconds into the scramble, before scouring the playground from perimeter to perimeter for more.

C.J. Quinton shows what he managed to scour up in the playground.

The Pot O’ Gold hunt is one of the favorites on the calendar of Early Learning Program Director Kelly O’Connor and her team of teachers.

“They (the kids) are all rich right now,” O’Connor said, figuring that if the nuggets were real, they’d be worth about $5,000 apiece.

The Early Learning Program, for kids between 2 and 5, is at capacity at the moment, O’Connor said, but interested parents can get on a waitlist for the future.

Y Early Learning Director Kelly O’Connor helps Juliette Kropik with her outfit before the hunt began.

A long-time teacher who has been with the Y for the past 5 years, said the program includes teaching youngsters the basics of science, match and literacy along with plenty of physical activities.

That apart, she said, being around kids is simply a joy in itself.

“I love their laughter, and simply watching them grow and learn,” O’Connor said. “Also, I love the Y because I like what their beliefs are.”

Those beliefs, in a nutshell, are: “To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

Harper Pepper, 3, shows off her “gold nuggets” that she found at the Y Early Learning Center’s Pot ‘O Gold afternoon marking St. Patrick’s Day.

For more information about the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s wide variety of programs and activities for youth and adults, call 394-3144.