Four years ago the Armourdale Renewal Association took over the former summer program that had been sponsored by the Unified Government's Parks and Recreation Summer Recreation program.
The program had been in place at every recreation center for more than 75 years. In my youth it was free to all the kids at all the centers in the county. Then they started charging $50 a child. That amount grew, due to teacher and equipment costs. Then it was discontinued by the UG Parks and Recreation Department.
The Armourdale children are still going to the center every year for six weeks, swimming pool and bus included. This is because parks and recreation still lets Armourdale Renewal use our treasured historical Armourdale Recreation Center. Kim Hausback, ARA executive director, has raised the funds for teachers, bus, pool equipment, and food through the generosity of the Armourdale business community and the BPU Summer Youth Employment program.
This year 50 percent of the money is still not there. Our wonderful coach Josh Boswell is beloved by those children. He is the physical education teacher at John Fiske School but he cannot support his family of four on love all summer long. If we lose "coach" we are done for. Yes, we received free lunches from the KCK school district but the number of children has grown so much that all the teacher aides, team leaders, Kim and Josh cannot find time to do the required daily paperwork. This is the first year for over 100 kids. Kim has divided them up in age groups. Believe it or not, all but 17 of the kids are first to third graders. Eight of the remaining kids are team leaders (BPUsummer employment) so that means only nine of the 100 are in fifth and sixth grades.
If anyone out there is willing to help with any funding amount they could offer, just email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the ARA office at 913-371-5696. Your donations are tax deductible and Kim will provide you with the 501 (c) (3) federal number. Kim and coach both invite you to come and witness the program in action at the Armourdale Recreation Center, 730 Osage Ave., from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Just be careful, they might put you to work.
Patty Dysart has been active in the Armourdale Renewal Association and Optimist Club for many years.