Bears, chalk art & community kindness

Jill Meier, Journal editor

Valley Springs residents staged a “cruz night” last Wednesday, as residents went out in search of bears and other stuffed animals perched in windows and lawn decor as a way to keep engaged and promote kindness during this trying time. For more photos, visit the photogallery at Submitted photo


Even in this time of mandated social distancing, folks are still finding ways to be good neighbors and stay connected.

And they’re doing it by propping stuffed bears in windows, hauling out Christmas, Halloween and Easter holiday lawn décor or crafting messages of hope on driveways and sidewalks with chalk. All of these simple endeavors are encouraging people to go for walks or drives as they hunt for bears and colorful messages of hope or take in the holiday-themed displays.

Last Wednesday, Valley Springs staged a Cruz Night. Traffic was brisk in this community of 750-plus, as vehicles zig-zagged through the neighborhoods, sometimes pausing for quick chats with a neighbor – adhereing to the recommended six feet of space between them – as they passed by one another.

As Mayor Carl Moss and wife, Cindy, drove around Valley Springs that night, they counted 50 homes that had some sort of decorations out. Half of the homes, Cindy adds, displayed bears.

“It was a great turnout for the cruise-thru, too,” Cindy said.

Brandon, Garretson and many other communities in the area are promoting the “Let’s Be Well” movement through similar endeavors. The movement started in Italy during the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak.

The “bear hunt” is largely being promoted through Facebook posts. The hunts encourage kids and adults to explore their neighborhoods and creates a sense of neighborhood in this uncertain time.

The activity is based on the book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” by Michael Rosen. The story offers a good metaphor for the journey taken towards healing. In the story, four children go on a bear hunt. “What a beautiful day!" they declare, “We’re not scared.”



The Brandon Valley Journal


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