Christmas on the Square, 2021: Merry Christmas Huntsville!

Erin Juarez

The Leap ambassadors took a break from studying for finals and volunteered at Christmas on the Square on Saturday, hosted by Main Street Huntsville. This is an event where the whole community comes together and celebrates Christmas in early December. The city offers fun activities involving snow, Santa Claus, a train ride, karaoke, vendors, and so much more!

After we arrived and situated everything at our station, we began to see people walking toward the line to meet Santa Claus. As soon as he sat down in his chair, ready to listen to all the children’s Christmas wishes, they began to rush over to take a picture with him. There were people of all ages: newborns, toddlers, teenagers, and even adults. They all made sure to tell Santa if they had been naughty or nice this year. As a treat for each person who declared that they had been good, Santa gifted them a candy cane. He then promised them he’d visit on Christmas and bring whatever gift they had wished for.

Yvette and I have been good girls this year, so we made sure to tell Santa. We even took a picture with him!

The kids were eager to ride the train, sing karaoke, get their faces painted, and participate in all of the activities that the city had planned for them. For starters, the train was always busy, the children loved being able to cruise around downtown. They also enjoyed singing Christmas music, and I can’t say that we blame them… Yvette and I went on stage and sang a song too!

The event was live: the music, the dancing, the events, and the pet contests were all enjoyable.

It was nice seeing familiar faces there: Mac and Leanne Woodward and their grand kids were there;

Mayor Brauninger and his wife were there;

and we had a great chance to spend time with City staff, who made this event such a success.

There was so much joy in seeing how everyone from different backgrounds came together to serve the community, which is something I personally cherished.

After witnessing how people banded together to make this event happen: the volunteers, the staff, the residents, and their attribute of selfless service gave me reassurance as to my reasoning behind the desire I have to serve my country and become a part of the US Army.

On behalf of the Leap Ambassadors, we are so thankful for everyone who was a part of this event and we wish everyone a safe and wonderful Winter Break and Happy Holidays!

Scare on the Square

October 30, 2021, Yvette Mendoza

LEAP Leads and Pre-Law Society members had the opportunity to volunteer at a spooky and thrilling event, Scare on the Square, hosted by Huntsville Mainstreet! Families poured through the downtown streets of Huntsville to attend this event that consisted of a costume contest, food tents, KSAM’s music hits, and a variety of organizations with booths that gave away Halloween candy, food, and prizes!

Our LEAP Leads and PLS groups set up our booth with a spooky bowl full of eyeballs, and a fun LEAP cornhole and ring toss game. The children were dressed up and ready to explore Scare on the Square!

Our volunteers had multiple different costumes that made the event much more spirited, from animals, movie characters, a hippie, and even a banana! We all kept in the character of our costumes as we rotated positions in making sure our booth ran smoothly. While some of us were working the prize table and giving out candy, the others were assisting families in playing corn hole and ring toss.

Continuing the exciting festivities, we were able to walk through the lively, jam-packed crowds and view other organizations setups at Scare on the Square. It was great to see CHSS (thank you for letting us borrow your organization’s tent), Tammy Gann and the interns at the Huntsville Economic Development tent; Sarah Faulkner representing Main Street and councilmember Beebe’s skateboards!

Each booth had kids and volunteers filled with an immense amount of excitement and there were smiling faces everywhere you looked! As more volunteers began to come in to switch with the ones that have been at ours for the first half, we were able to see the fun and creative costumes they wore. Catalina was an adorable minion while Mario was a movie character from Top Gun. We all captured the moment and took various pictures in our attires.

Towards the end children were running ramped from the high consumption of sugary candy, and parents and volunteers were exhausted. Although everyone may have been tired, we all wouldn’t miss out on making all the children at Scare on the Square have the brightest of smiles. LEAP Leads and PLS volunteers learned how to work as a team and help our beloved city of Huntsville celebrate Halloween weekend!

Downtown Beautification: A Partnership with Huntsville Main Street

On a glorious Saturday morning, the LEAP Ambassadors gladly spent their day at the John Henry Rather Park in Huntsville, helping to beautify their community. It all began with the Main Street Director, Ms. Debbie Charbonneau who, as part of the Main Street program, helps restore and promote downtown Huntsville.

Main Street hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as Fair on the Square, Scare on the Square, Downtown Farmers Market and more, all to attract tourists to historic downtown.

With all hands on deck, the LEAP Ambassadors assisted in the maintenance needed to be done to preserve and improve these areas. With a few materials–buckets, rags, spray paint, and eight Ambassadors–the park’s dusty and worn planters were given a new life.

Main Street Huntsville, LEAP Center, SHSU, Rather Park

Undoubtedly, the team work and the lovely temperature in the low 80 degrees expedited the process;

Main Street Huntsville, LEAP Center, SHSU, Rather Park

while some Ambassadors wiped clean the dusty and flaky surfaces, others tackled the painting process.

Main Street Huntsville, LEAP Center, SHSU, Rather Park

Not to mention that with the help and support of both Ms. Debbie Charbonneau and Mrs. Linda McKenzie, our team were able to help the planters turn over a new leaf.

Although the project was small, it certainly created a big impact and the downtown streets never looked better with their new additions.

Main Street Huntsville, LEAP Center, SHSU, Rather Park

After our work was completed, we stopped by the local restaurant, Farm House Sweets & Eats. There, we chit-chatted and enjoyed our delicious handcrafted meals and, of course, ordered some mouthwatering fried pie for dessert!