An egg-cellent effort

School for the Blind students, Scouts fill 10,000 eggs for annual Camas hunt

Fenix Roark, 14 (left), and Tristan Freckleton, 16, students from the Vancouver-based Washington State School for the Blind, help fill eggs for the city of Camas' annual Easter Day Egg Hunt on March 26. The egg hunt takes place in Crown Park, starting at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, April 1.

Tasha Jackson, 16, a student at the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, fills plastic eggs with candy on March 26 at the Camas Community Center in preparation for the city of Camas' annual Easter Day Egg Hunt, which starts at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, April 1, at Crown Park.

How fast can 35 Boy Scouts, two Cub Scouts and 20 students from the Washington State School for the Blind fill 10,000 plastic eggs with tiny pieces of wrapped candy?

Pretty darn fast, says Krista Bashaw, the city of Camas’ recreation coordinator for special events.

“It usually takes them about an hour and a half,” Bashaw says, surveying the crowd of young people, who have taken their spots at round tables inside the Camas Community Center. Bellies filled with city-provided pizza, the Scouts and School for the Blind students are now raring to go.

“They love the competition,” says Adrienne Fernandez, the School for the Blind’s recreation and volunteer coordinator. “We have ‘repeat offenders’ who sign up for this every year.”

The volunteer egg-filling event, which preps for the city’s annual Easter Day Egg Hunt at Crown Park, has been going on for 27 years, Bashaw says.

The city hosts the event at the Community Center a few days before the annual egg hunt and serves pizza and refreshments to the volunteers from the School for the Blind, a Vancouver-based school for Washington State students in sixth grade through age 21 who have a full range of visual impairments, and the local scouts from Boy Scout Troop 562 and Cub Scout Troop 424.

Scoutmaster Jim Adams, 32, leads the Troop 562 scouts and says he remember coming to the annual egg-filling event when he was a Boy Scout. Now, he watches as his own troop gets ready to fill the tiny plastic eggs at warp speed.

“It’s something they look forward to,” Adam says.

Once the filling has begun, there are a few giggles and jokes from the students and scouts, but most are focused on the task at hand — reaching for a piece of wrapped candy, positioning it inside the tiny, colorful egg and then snapping the egg shut with a satisfying “crack” and popping the ready-to-go egg inside a giant bucket positioned in the middle of the table.

By the time this two-hour egg-filling ritual is completed, there will be 10,000 candy-filled eggs ready to be paired with the 3,000 toy-filled eggs city staff has already purchased, for the annual Camas egg hunt.

The city’s free Easter Day Egg Hunt begins at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, at Crown Park, and features about 13,000 candy and prize-filled eggs, hidden in designated, color-coded areas for different age groups, ranging from ages 2 to 3, to ages 10 to 12.

Children should bring a basket or bag to collect their eggs. And all children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults are not allowed inside the egg-hunting areas, except in the ages 2 to 3 zone. The city’s “Traditional Easter Bonnet” and “Contemporary Hat” contests will take place immediately following the egg hunt. Prizes and ribbons will be awarded to participants.

This year’s Easter Day Egg Hunt sponsors and contributors include C-W Grocery Outlet, Columbia Gorge Women’s Association, Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal, VFW Post 4278 and Winco, which discounted the wrapped candy found inside the eggs. For more information, visit www.cityofcamas.us.