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Kiwanis Club members rolled up their sleeves to help various local organizations this summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIWANIS CLUB OF PRINEVILLE
 - Kiwanians pose for a photo at the Kiwanis Children's Park play structure near the Les Schwab amphitheater. A group of five members prepped and restained the structure over the course of a few days.

Like everyone else, Kiwanis realized about April 1 that the next few months were not going to be normal.

We did not realize then that the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt our entire schedule for the year, perhaps even longer.

Our first major event cancellation was the traditional Easter Egg Hunt which normally attracts about 400 children. Then came the cancellation of the Crooked River Roundup celebration, which relies on Kiwanis to organize the parade lineup and sell programs at the rodeo.

Shortly thereafter, we decided that our traditional Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast should be canceled. Like most organizations, our plans for the year were turned completely upside down.

What happened next is a testament to the service commitment that club members make when they join Kiwanis.

We began to look for work projects in the community that required time and effort but not much money.

We proposed a project to the city to build a bench made of boulders overlooking the new Barnes Butte park. The main purpose is to provide a gathering spot for a class on a field trip from the grade school. The city offered to provide the heavy lifting for our design. They did an outstanding job getting the boulders into place as phase 1.

They suggested that if we needed something to do, perhaps we could organize a work party to clean out weeds from the horse corrals at Barnes Butte. We did just that and while not exactly glamorous, the project was successful.

Not long after that, we got an urgent call from the high school asking us to help organize the impromptu high school graduation parade through town. We pulled that off with a lot of effort and pride that we could help.

A member suggested that the shade structure that Kiwanis built many years ago at Gervais Park needed attention. A group of five members prepped and restained that structure over the course of a few days. Next came the idea to repaint the 30-year-old Kiwanis Children's Park play structure at Les Schwab field. That was a three-day project which involved a work party of 15 members and more than 130 hours of labor.

Last month, MountainStar Relief Nursery asked if we could paint the inside of their building, which is being repurposed into a classroom setting for a new program they are offering. With a group of 10 members, we repainted the inside with about 75 hours of labor.

We look back on our summer of 2020 with the satisfaction that although we did not raise any money for the many projects we support in our community, we rolled up our sleeves and made a difference for the kids in Prineville.

Along the way, we made monetary donations to Little League Baseball, Soroptimists Meals on Wheels, St. Vincent's food bank, MorningStar Relief Nursery and The Landing. Each of these organizations had its own share of problems this year. We are happy to have helped in a small way.

Phil Burgess is the president of Kiwanis of Prineville.


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