Parents in northwest Calgary get their own hour to play, thanks to community organization

City group getting parents outside for playdates in the northwest

Parents and community members gather at the Bowness Community Association for an 'Adult Playdate' at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29. | LAYLA DART FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Playdates aren’t just for kids anymore, according to one Calgary organization. 

carya, a community-driven association, organized BowMont Families Together, rooted in Bowness, Montgomery, and Greenwood Village. 

Three times each week, the organization hosts events designed to foster connections within the community. Though it’s rooted in the northwest, the events are open to whoever wishes to attend. While families are the focus of the organization, one weekly event is geared towards parents specifically.

Aptly named ‘Adult Playdates,’ parents are invited to get together on Wednesday mornings to chat and play a game – children optional.  

Lisa Hurrle (centre) kicked off this Wednesday’s game of Pictionary in the field at the Bowness Community Association.

“Human connection is really what fuels us,” said Lisa Hurrle, one of the organizers of BowMont Families Together.

“It’s positive for our mental health.”

For those dealing with isolation due to COVID-19 precautions, an event like this is an effective tool to alleviate some of the affects.

Getting out to meet people isn’t what it used to be, so something like these Adult Playdates can bridge those gaps in the community. It gets families together, and the game allows for an easy transition into conversation.

Games like Pictionary, trivia, or ‘name that tune’ are set up with the parents in mind – though you’ll often find kids somewhere nearby. Attendance has varied from about three to 10 participants, but all have been successful in fostering community spirit.

To keep things safe and sanitary at this Wednesday’s game of Pictionary, each player was given a yogurt container with individual supplies. | LAYLA DART

Online or outside, parents play on

While COVID-19 forced operations and events online for a while, the warm weather has brought the group outside. Since then, three of their events have been in the field at the Bowness Community Association. There they sit at safe distances apart and let their kids play in the sunshine. 

Kids are a frequent sight at the Adult Playdates, sometimes they even help their parent(s) play! Here, Bernadette Richardson and her son work together to create their Pictionary masterpiece | LAYLA DART

“The kids sometimes join in, and often they’ll just kind of run around in the field,” said Hurrle.

“They’re so happy to see another little person that they are just happy running around, whatever they play.”

This leaves time for parents to get in on the fun while their kids are distracted – whether they’ve brought them along or left them at home.

Jacqueline Butt tries her hand at Pictionary – she was an avid participant at this week’s Adult Playdate | LAYLA DART

The games are quick, fun, and simple. The games turn to friendly conversations after the scheduled hour of play is up.

“It’s nice to get outside,” said Jacqueline Butt, a long-time attendee at the Adult Playdates.

“It’s just a lot of fun to be around people.”

Adult Playdates are facilitated each Wednesday morning from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

To keep up with them and the rest of the events and communications from BowMont Families Together, you can find them on Facebook here.

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