Fort Mill Times

LEAP Ahead cookout celebrates success

Will Durkee, 5, and his sister, Lulu, 4, play under a giant parachute at the LEAP Ahead cookout at the Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Will Durkee, 5, and his sister, Lulu, 4, play under a giant parachute at the LEAP Ahead cookout at the Anne Springs Close Greenway.

The LEAP Ahead Program, along with the Fort Mill Rotary Club, hosted the 19th Annual LEAP Ahead Cookout April 23 at the Anne Springs Close Greenway.

Featuring games, music, horseback riding and other events for families, the event drew a large crowd of all ages. The official count was 847 attendees.

"We hope to have at least 1,000 people," said coordinator Julie Durham. "We just want to promote a community spirit and enjoy nature. We want to let people know about our program in the school system while hosting a fun, family event."

The event is also a fundraiser for the Fort Mill Care Center. According to Durham, 256 pounds of canned goods were collected.

The LEAP Ahead program is available to anyone within the Fort Mill school system and promotes family literacy and school readiness, according to Kim Therrell, a home visitor with the program.

"Parents are the first teachers, so we try to help out with parenting skills and ways to teach children before school," Therrell said. "We promote family interaction."

The cookout, a way to let people know about the program while enjoying the outdoors, included beanbag tosses, face-painting, displays by local fire and police departments, and the signature event - a giant parachute for children to play with.

For more information on the LEAP Ahead program, call 548-1754, or visit the family resources office at 513 Banks Street in Fort Mill.

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