Southwick resident creates ‘Safari Drive’ to connect with others

Southwick resident Aaron Fraser and her daughter Willow “search” for animals in front of a dinosaur made from wood, a hose and a tarp. Fraser created a Safari Drive to connect with fellow residents. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS SUBMITTED PHOTO)

SOUTHWICK – Southwick resident Aaron Fraser wanted to find a creative way to have fun and socialize from a distance, so she created a Safari Drive.

The idea is for families to take a drive through town and look for animals in windows and yards. Fraser said she modified the idea of a friend.

“A friend had posted a ‘going on a bear hunt’ idea with just the bears in windows of your neighborhood, and I thought it would be fun to take it a little further, mostly because we don’t live in a neighborhood where there are many families, and people in more rural areas probably feel the same,” she said.

Fraser created a Facebook event where participants can join and access a map of safari locations.

Residents are asked to put a stuffed animal or drawing of an animal in their windows and yards, decorate mailboxes with animals or place “animals” on hiking and biking trails. Fraser asked anyone with live animals visible from the road to participate as well. She even suggested drawing chalk animals on driveways and sidewalks.

Fraser asks that anyone interested in being added to the Safari Drive should contact her via Facebook March 26 and she will release the map March 27. Fraser said she is excited to see so many people thinking out of the box on ways to have fun together during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m so grateful for all the creative ways people are connecting while still respecting the importance of social distancing,” she said. “So many have been sharing free concerts, virtual workouts, draw-alongs, and storytime, it has been so touching and necessary in this physically isolating time.”

Fraser’s daughter Willow is in preschool and has not been given school assignments to complete, but they are making the most of their time at home.

“As a former preschool teacher myself I try my best to make everyday moments teachable moments — finding letters on the cereal box, drawing using shapes, mixing and measuring ingredients while cooking, “ she said, adding they are “mostly learning through play.”

Fraser also said it is a good time to take a deep breath and enjoy the little things.

“I believe this is a time to release the need to fill every minute with ‘purpose’ and just be,” Fraser said. “Willow does not really get what is going on, but we didn’t have a very busy life before this, and her dad still has to go to work. She is missing friends and family, but we have used virtual meetups and messaging to keep in touch.”

To join the Safari Drive, visit https://facebook.com/events/s/southwickgranvilletolland-safa/1104051473282684/?ti=as.


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