By Will Shaw
Thursday June 13th was the day Oblate employees in the Belleville area look forward to all year, it was the annual employee picnic sponsored by the Missionary Association of Mary immaculate, which now invites employees from three local Oblate ministries. In addition to the Missionary Association, all employees from The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, St. Henry’s Oblate Residence, and King’s House Retreat Center are invited for a day of food and games.
“Employees love it and get excited about it. In addition to the picnic day, we try and have something special each day, games, or ice cream, so that it’s kind of a “spirit week” for the employees,” said Diann Donjon, Human Resources Manager/Coordinator for MAMI and the Shrine.
Ms. Donjon forms a committee each spring of employees and managers, who plan the activities and the “theme” for the picnic. Since 2019 is the 50th Anniversary of the famous Woodstock Concert, the event was chosen as the picnic’s theme and all employees received a brightly-colored tie-dyed 60’s style t-shirt for the occasion.
The festivities kicked-off at 2:30 on Thursday with Bingo and for the more “athletic,” a “Cornhole” tournament. (For the uninitiated, two-person teams toss bean bags at a hole drilled in a ground-level platform a ’la “Washers” or Horseshoes.) After a tight competition, the team of Calvin Barton and Joe Pytlinski won bragging rights for 2019.
About 5 O’clock It was time to eat and that is always a special summer feast featuring Bar-B-Que and Brats provided by MAMI along with the drinks, and a huge variety of side-dishes and desserts brought in by the employees. There was more than enough for all, plus enough left-overs to provide lunch on Friday!
It was a fun day of food, activities and fellowship. Reflecting on the picnic, Diann Donjon said, “We didn’t really approach it as a team-building exercise, but in a way it has become one. Employees from four different ministries get to spend time meeting each other and having some fun. And it gives the Oblates and management an opportunity to show the employees how much they are appreciated.”