Holiday Bake-A-Thon

This blog is the first in the “My Favorite Parks and Recreation Memory” series. At GoStrive, we have a passion for all things Parks and Recreation. We all have fond memories that range from participating as children, coaching others, to spectating our children as they participate in a Parks and Recreation program. Ellie Humphrey is the Marketing Manager at GoStrive. Her fondest Parks and Recreation memory contains sugar and spice, and everything nice.

christmas-cookies-istock_000004698457xsmall2I’ve never been one for cooking. The truth is, I rarely cook meals for myself. Baking though, is a different story completely. My love for freshly baked cakes, brownies and cookies stems from an undeniable sweet tooth.

A few years ago a friend of mine, Katie, approached me with an interesting weeknight activity. A Holiday Bake-A-Thon was being hosted by the Minneapolis Parks and Rec at a local middle school. The event was $20, and promised a great return – get all of your holiday baking done in one night!

I arrived at the event a bit nervous and not entirely sure what to expect. To me, Parks and Recreation was all about sports and activeness, not baking. What I found completely changed my perspective on Parks and Rec and and their ability to engage all members of the community.

Imagine a commercial kitchen full of women, excited to get baking and fall into the holiday spirit. Festive music played, ovens warmed up, and excited chatter filled the room. Participants divided into groups, each tasked with a specific part of one cookie or confection. Some rolled dough into small balls, others placed M&M’s as eyes in Reindeer-shaped treats. Katie and I were busy dipping dough into powdered sugar and arranging them on trays.

The prep work winded down, and the baking started. Soon smells of baked goods filled the kitchen. The results were wonderful! Collectively we created 10 different sweets, from mint chocolate drops, to sprinkled spritz cookies. After a delightful taste testing, we each selected a large batch for ourselves. As the event wrapped up, we packed our freshly-baked treats and said goodbye to our new friends. To this day, some of my favorite recipes are from this Parks and Rec event. Here’s one of them! Easy Lemon Cookies.

What unique or unexpected events does your Parks and Recreation agency offer in your area? Would you consider a Holiday Bake-A-Thon? Create a new tradition in your community!