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SADD students host the event next Friday to raise money to attend national conference

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO
 - Kylie Loving of the Crook County Health Department, left, and volunteer Patti Norris hand out Otter Pops to Kaden Rozewski, center, and Aaron Wilson during the Popsicles in the Park event last year. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 31 at Ochoco Creek Park.

Free popsicles, games, prizes, face painting and more await children and families at the Third Annual Popsicles in the Park event.

"The purpose of Popsicles in the Park is to celebrate our tobacco, drug and alcohol free parks, and it is also a fundraiser for our Students Against Destructive Decisions," explained Crook County Health Department Prevention Coordinator Heather Stuart. She is helping plan the event with local SADD students.

Kids young and old can come to the free celebration from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 31 at Ochoco Creek Park near Castle Park.

There will be yard games, a dunk tank, prizes and, of course, free popsicles for all.

"In the last two years, Ray's has generously donated 200 to 300 popsicles," Stuart said, adding that sometimes Ray's Food Place has given both traditional popsicles on a stick and Otter Pops.

Those wanting to enter a little competition may join the bag toss tournament, which starts at 4 p.m. The entry fee is $20 per team. SADD students encourage businesses and organizations to form teams and compete in the bag toss tournament.

"Face painting is usually very popular, and we have other community partners there as well, so they've been asked to bring an activity of some sort to the event," Stuart said.

Those partners include Rimrock Trails, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, the Crook County Library, Clear Alliance, Central Oregon Youth Development, and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery.

Anyone feeling lucky may purchase raffle tickets and be entered to win a variety of prizes.

"We have some fun popsicle molds. We've got some popsicle pool floaties and a really cute popsicle backpack and duffle bag — popsicle everything — popsicle blanket and popsicle lights," Stuart said, adding that there's also a big dice yard game and a small bag toss set in the raffle.

And, attendees will have opportunities to win raffle tickets based on participation.

The event happens to fall on National World Tobacco Day, so the SADD students will have educational materials about the risks of tobacco at their booth.

Aside from the bag toss tournament and raffle ticket sales, SADD students asked local businesses to sponsor the event.

"Mill Power Inc. donated $500 to SADD along with many other businesses in the community who will be recognized at the event," Stuart said.

Funds raised will help pay the way for four Crook County High School SADD members to attend the SADD National Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, June 23-26.

"This is the first year that we've actually gone to the conference, so we're really excited," Stuart said. "There's going to be some keynote speakers, different activities and learning sessions. They'll be able to network with students from all over the nation."

In order to attend the conference, the SADD members had to fill out an application with the health department. Preference was given to underclassmen so they could come back to CCHS and grow their SADD chapter.

SADD members Emily Mize, Zoe Poore, Miranda Vargas Ortiz and Cindy Vargas plan to attend the summer conference.

"There are going to be lots of different workshops and educational opportunities around recruitment, SADD's mission and how to take information back for the next school year to grow the SADD program," Stuart said.

This is the third time SADD students have hosted Popsicles in the Park, and Stuart said it has gotten bigger and bigger.

"It's a great, fun community event that promotes healthy activities and healthy lifestyle, and we should all be celebrating our tobacco, alcohol and drug free parks," Stuart said.

Popsicles in the Park

Hosted by CCHS SADD students

Date: 3:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, May 31

Place: Ochoco Creek Park, 430 NE Juniper St.

To sign up for the bag toss tournament, call Nick, 541-447-5165.

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