Jolly elf visited via Zoom with Lyons kids
By Steve Metsch
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lyons parks and recreation department was unable to have Santa visit in person with kids this year.
Thanks to modern technology, all was not lost.
Kids were able to visit with the jolly old elf on their computers via Zoom, the online meeting place that’s probably been used by their parents for business meetings the past nine months.
Zoom calls with Santa were done on Dec. 9 and 12.
“We had about 20 yesterday,” Ted Tala, director of the department, said on Dec. 10.
“It was very successful,” he said “Almost all the families had good things to say when they emailed me. ‘Oh, Johnny had such a good time. He’s still talking about it’.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus zoomed in from his workshop, Tala said.
The calls were free to participants.
|Ted Tala, director of parks and recreation in Lyons, made it easy for kids to visit with Santa. Photo by Steve Metsch.|
The department wanted to do something special for the kids during the holidays, Tala said. “It was an easy call.”
“It was more or less a one-on-one with Santa Claus,” Tala said. “It truly was very rewarding to see,” Tala said. “Some of these kids, just the look on their face said it all. Kids who started off the Zoom shy, not a word said, a couple words from Santa, you realize what kind of characters they are.”
He smiled when he recalled a 3-year-old saying “Santa, you’re a funny guy. You crack me up sometimes.”
Another was quick to show Santa that the movie “Elf” was on their TV.
The Zoom call helped fill the void for the usually busy department.
“Every year we have our (winter) day camp, we have our senior holiday party, we have breakfast with Santa and this year – against all odds – we couldn’t make any of that happen just for the betterment of all the kids out there,” Tala said.
Other pandemic victims were the Kids Night Out, held one Friday night each month from October to April, and the village’s annual Halloween party in Smith Park.
— Desplaines Valley News