BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) – It’s been a strange year for kids, especially when it comes to school.

“A little bit, but it’s almost normal now,” said Aaron McCright, Evangel United Methodist Children’s Church member.

Their experiences were all different.

“The last time I was in a school building was when I went to high school last March,” said Church member and teenager Josh Elgin.

They were very excited about the opportunities to make contacts safely through their church this winter. Evangel United Methodist in Rochester has hosted outdoor social events for its youth groups.

“Sometimes it’s mission projects and ministries. Sometimes it’s social projects. Today, on a fine day, we decided to go to Oxbox Park,” said Jim Klepper, director of Christian education for Evangel United Methodist.

The Kids Club event on Sunday March was a way for the kids to have fun in a year far from it. The group visited Oxbox Park and Zollman Zoo in Byron.

“Super important. It was important because children were isolated,” said Klepper. “All of our events since the start of COVID have been out. We found ways to meet safely.”

“I really like her,” said McCright.

“We’re home schooled so we like it. We saw a few friends but not very many,” said the Church member and Winona-resident Bingham Lindberg.

It may be a windy start to spring, but it was the perfect opportunity for kids to see their favorite animals.

“I like the cats. They are adorable,” said Evelyn Elgin.

“I like the wolf,” said Bingham.

“I like the coyotes,” added his brother Billy.

“I think the cats and the predators,” said McCright. “I kind of like the birds too.”

“You’re having a great time,” said Klepper. “They’re hard to keep up with because they’re on the move all the time.”

He says the church has found new ways to minister to the children, from driving through the virtual church camp last summer to online Sunday school lessons to watching a children’s TV show.