Bushton PRIDE, the park improvement project has been a five year
journey that has turned into much more than they originally envisioned.
“We began with a group that wanted to add new park equipment for
the kids” explained Nancy Swain, Bushton PRIDE chairman.
“It has grown into a community gathering place for many
Work on the park was able to start when the PRIDE program received
grant funds from a local charitable trust. A work day was scheduled and
nearly 75 of the 300 local residents turned out to help install the new
pieces of equipment! It was a real community event! Woodchips arrived a
few days later, and were raked into place by more volunteers! Next, new
sidewalks were poured. Broken concrete under the old shelter was
replaced, and a ceiling installed to keep birds from roosting above the
picnic tables. Next they added new picnic tables, benches, trash cans,
and a drinking fountain.
Nancy Swain lives across the street from the park in Bushton. “It
is so much fun to see the park and the kid playing in it almost every
day,” stated Swain. As park use began to grow, a merry go round
and spring rider were added as additional play area for the many
children who enjoy the park each day. Old spring riders were also
repainted and refurbished.
One of the goals of Bushton PRIDE is to provide a usable a place to
gather for various community events. A stage would help meet this goal,
so a stage was built…again by volunteers. Bushton PRIDE
purchased a large sound system. Then free movie nights were discussed.
An inflatable outdoor movie screen and outdoor projector were
purchased. On a weekly basis throughout the summer, movies are shown
with many local families in attendance. Everyone brings a lawn chair,
blanket, or uses one of the benches in the park. Concessions are sold
to raise a little money but individuals are not discouraged from
bringing along their own snacks.
Bushton PRIDE also
hosts a big Back to School Bash in the park. A “wet and
wild” kids carnival is set-up with fun games, and an inflatable
waterslide and bouncer for the kids to play on. A three on three
basketball tournament is scheduled. Area businesses donate funds
towards a community picnic in the evening. New teachers, coaches and
fall sports teams are introduced building community spirit and support
for the school and its students
In the fall, the football homecoming parade stops at the park. The
stage is used for a community pep rally. The coach gives his talk, the
cheerleaders perform, and the homecoming candidates are introduced.
Community participation is good and it sets the atmosphere for the
With spring comes the annual Easter egg hunt. Children from all over
the area come to Bushton and delight in looking for the treasures
hidden in the park.
PRIDE activities are not limited to the park, however. One of the
Bushton PRIDE fund raisers each year is the annual Bushton
Santa’s Bazaar. At Santa’s Bazaar, area crafters purchase
booth space to sell their wares and the “Best Soup in
Bushton” contest is held. People come from all over the area to
buy a tasting kit to sample the 10 to 12 donated entries and then vote
for their favorite. Of course, there is also entertainment! But the
most anticipated event is the visit by Santa Claus…who is
delivered by the Bushton Fire Department. Each child tells Santa what
he would like for Christmas and receives an old fashioned bag of candy
newest addition to Bushton PRIDE activities is the Bushton Community
Garden. The garden is in it’s first year, and has been planted by
local school children and community volunteers. According to the
Community Garden chairman, Kellie Woolf, “if you plant a plant,
or weed a weed, you may also pick a fresh fruit or vegetable! The
community garden recently received a grant which will allow it to put
in a composting center where school children will be taught how
composting works, and learn valuable information about how to grow
their own gardens. Be sure to check out the Bushton Community Garden
page on Facebook for some great ideas and pictures!
Bushton PRIDE helps Bushton in many ways. The new park serves a great
need. It is a gathering place for families and friends, it is a safe
place for children to play, and it brings people together as they watch
a movie on Saturday evening or gather to support their local school.
The community garden also brings people together and provides fresh
food for local citizens. And the Santa’s Bazaar helps area
crafters while keeping some of the Christmas gift spending here in the
local economy. The many events sponsored by Bushton PRIDE have helped
to bring life and fun into this small Kansas community of 300!
To learn more about the
community of Bushton, CLICK HERE to
visit their community website!
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