A cool crossing of generations — Ice cream event co-mingle ages

A cool crossing of generations — Ice cream event commingles ages

Diana Simmons (far right), a member of the Pleasant Hill Commission on Aging, looks on as Concord resident Evelyn Lafrades, 8, shakes away at the ice cream making table. Her brother, Jacob, 10, awaits his turn to help with shaking the towel-wrapped bag. (Photo by David Scholz)

PLEASANT HILL, CA (Sept. 20, 2023) — Ice cream arguably is the one treat that all generations can agree on.

So the Pleasant Hill Commission on Aging made a hands-on making of the frozen concoction the centerpiece of its multi-faceted makerspace contribution to the Tinkers and  Thinkers Innovation Faire held Sept. 16 at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center and adjacent Pleasant Hill Park. The Pleasant Hill Library and Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District teamed up to host the award-winning S.T.E.A.M. event.

The intergenerational ice cream makerspace activity, its roll out interrupted by the Covid pandemic, was two years in the making.  But when it finally happened, it was a can’t miss hit as evident by the sights and sounds rising from three tables.

From giving the youngest generation the task of shaking bags filled with the ingredients needed to transform them into the icy cream treat, to creating art from colorful and unvarnished popsicle sticks, it was about all about bringing generations together for new experiences.

“How much longer?”  was a common refrain often heard by the ice cream making chair of cheerleading, Diana Simmons, a member the Commission on Aging, who gave encouragement to all youngsters willing to give their muscles a workout for the delicious cause.

Simmons noted some 2600 popsicles were on hand for what she deemed was a celebration of fun for all ages who turned out for the event.

Volunteer Laura Mosley offers a suggestions for what popsicles creations four-year old Rami Rai and Jayan, 6, of Walnut Creek, can make as their dad, Ron Rai, looks on. (Photo by David Scholz)

Getting outside

“Rather than seeing them sit around inside on the couch and playing video, it’s a chance to get them outside and learning,” said Concord resident Joel Lafrades who looked on as his children, Jacob, 10, and Evelyn, 8, took turns shaking a bag. Surely something delicious rolled up inside the towel awaited them.

Nearby other kids colored dye cut outs of ice cream cones and popsicle treats that could be transformed into ornaments with string. Simmons noted any left behind by the children would be taken to nearby nursing homes to brighten the days of their residents.

Creative opportunities extended to a third station where clothes pins – or not – were used by youngsters to connect individual popsicle sticks and transform them into new creations that could serve to inspire the next visitor to the table.

Engaging young ones

A cool crossing of generations — Ice cream event co-mingle ages
Luka Varagic, 6, of Concord, and Violet Perelman, of Pleasant Hill, explore what a typewriter can do along with other older technology as part of a display at the Innovation Faire held Sept. 16 at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center. (Photo by David Scholz)

Ron Rai, of Walnut Creek, who brought his sons, Jayan, 6, and Rami, 4, out for the Faire, thought it was great opportunity for different generations to mingle and engage the younger ones in new activities.

What would it be – a flower, an animal, houses, or towers?  Whatever was germinating around their brains, no doubt there was a goal of the next creation being bigger, higher, and more extravagant. The reward was a colorful ice cream-themed sticker or wrist band as well as a free popsicle.

“It’s whatever they want it to be and whatever they want to do,” said Pleasant Hill resident Laura Mosley who was among a group of volunteers on hand to pass out the sticks to young hands eager to start assembling and offer suggestions.

“I think it’s fabulous that it gets the generations together,” she continued.  “I love to volunteer, and I love kids, so this is perfect for me.”

Sounds like a win-win all around.