Inviting almost 70 kids over for an all afternoon competition at your home may sound overwhelming to some moms, but not Kristin Kucharski.
The Naperville mom started a community tradition seven years ago called the Survivor Games, a summer afternoon event filled with competition for kids ages five to twelve, held in her back yard.
“It started at 18 kids, back in 2006,” said Kucharksi. “Each year it’s progressively grown and this year we have 67 kids.”
Over the years, year the games have changed, but the idea has stayed the same: a fun way to end the summer for local kids, especially her two daughters.
“I thought it was really cool that we get to do something in the summer and get together with other people and our friends,” said Kucharski’s 11-year-old daughter, Tessa.
The kids are split up into teams and create their own name.
Events included tug-of-war, relay races, and new this year, a dunk tank.
Because of the growth over the years, there’s no guarantee kids will know everyone there, but they don’t mind.
“They divide you up with people you don’t know,” said competitor Mason, 9. “You get to know them and you make new friends.”
In the end, Lazer Unicorn Farm pulled out the big win, but Kucharski knows her games are about much more than just winning.
“These teams really connect and bond and cheer each other on and I just love that camaraderie and the unknown to the known and they’ll look forward to next year and bring more friends,” said Kucharski.
The Games have been an annual staple for young kids in this south Naperville community, a tradition Kucharski hopes continues.
“As long as they say every year they want to do survivor games again it will keep going,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll have their college friends coming back every summer to do it and it’s a tradition we hope to maintain for a very long time.”
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