It was just after 9 a.m. when the final busload of bundled-up elementary school students scampered into Franklin & Marshall College's Alumni Sports & Fitness Center, teeth clenched against the cold, eyes gleaming with anticipation.
Within moments, the group of 30 joined approximately 270 others from nearby Ross and Wharton elementary schools already queued up to take part in activities such as limbo, tug-of-war, relay racing, basketball shooting and Twister.
The fifth annual Brooks Buddies event was under way.
More than 75 members of Brooks College House turned out to lead the kids in organized activities that showcased the importance of physical fitness and healthy living. The lead organizer for the sixth annual event was sophomore Leah Houser, secretary-treasurer of Brooks House Congress.
"It's a very exciting process," she said, surveying the gym floor to ensure the students were progressing smoothly from one activity station to the next. "It was a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, but I'm proud to keep this tradition going for Brooks House and the kids, who really look forward to this event each year."
The half-day event was created by Stephen Lockey '11, the former president of Brooks who launched the program when he was a student in 2009. Other members of the Brooks House Congress continued the tradition over the last several years, including Christian Hartranft '12, Akbar Hossain '13, Ross Silverberg '13, Stephanie Tzarnas '13, and others.
Caitlin Brust, a senior and four-year volunteer at Brooks Buddies, said the best part of the event is seeing so many smiling faces and hearing laughter echo throughout the fitness center. She said it's important for the College to be connected to the city of Lancaster.
"This demonstrates to the Lancaster community that F&M is thinking about them and that we care."