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Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016

McGennis Youth Center is for all kids -- Part II

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is a continuation of the last column published two weeks ago. When I started that column, I did not plan to make it in two parts. As I said, the Youth Center is of utmost importance to me, so no wonder that it requires more than one column.

In March the annual meeting of the McGennis Youth Center was held and the annual report was presented. We ended with the discussion of the caretakers report as reported by Scott and Tina Sudkamp. Most of their report was in the previous column.

They listed the projects completed as: new pipe in dam and dam repaired -- Dale Headley; stove pipe repaired and two new windows in the house -- Randy Burchell; new windows, soffit and fascia at snack shack -- Kenneth Taylor; painting inside snack shack completed -- lifeguards; water line repairs -- Greg White; road repair -- Larry Balk; and new freezer for the Center -- Joe and Virginia Habjan.

Certainly there was a lot done at the center during 2008. Scott and Tina summarized their report by saying, "It has been a good year, and with the help of a lot of volunteers, many projects have been completed."

One of the highlights each year is the annual barbecue. Randy Bell, barbecue chairman said, "Once again this year the annual barbecue and auction were held the last Sunday of September, resulting in beautiful weather and a successful day for the center. Before the meal, visitors to the center were treated to wagon rides around the grounds. Debbie Balk revived the tradition of children's games, much to the delight of our youngest attendees." The meal was provided by the Flaming Lantern in Butler.

Delbert Johnston donated his time and talent for the annual auction, making it both enjoyable and financially successful. Marvin Swichammer, Bob Wingate and members of the board assisted with the auction. Katie Bell-Abend, auction chairperson reported that there were approximately 140 donated items and the center raised almost $6,000 through the generosity of donators and bidders.

Each year the stand at the Rich Hill Fourth of July celebration is a major fundraiser for the center. Manned by volunteers this stand sold hamburgers, hot-dogs, pop, "walking tacos" and other items. The profit was approximately $6,000. Several boys from the Rich Hill Youth Development Center took a shift in the stand.

One of the events I look forward to at the youth center is the Old Barn Theater performance directed by Rhonda Headley. It is always a great event and much fun. Some way I missed the performance.

Ronda reports, "As usual, the weather in August in Missouri is unpredictable and almost as crazy as the antics of those on the Old Barn stage "under the stars." This year's play was no exception. The hot action on the stage centered on the fabricated story of some desperate young inn owners to draw crowds and money into their isolated "hotel." The promise of a Bigfoot sighting brought in the crowds.

"The guests at this quaint inn varied in lunacy from the slow-witted novice nature-seekers known as Greg and Eugenia Brocka to real investigative reporters including Randy Bell, retired newsman. Typecasting is one of director Rhonda Headley's strong points. Of course, during an election year, a little fun was focused on politicians and the media with outstanding performances by Congressman Bob Schlyer, aide Doug Abend and the scatter brained news anchor Barb Brooks.

The strange occurrences at the inn relied on the two young heiresses of the broken down estate, Shonda Davis and Carla Armentrout, and their loyal handyman/secret fiction writer Thad Glynn. In all, 23 community stars spent three nights shining brightly on top of the hill.

"With chilly weather (all old costumes were used as covers to keep the audience members warm), 'North Wood Nonsense' made perfect sense for approximately 500 people on Aug. 14, 15 and 16.

The weather in Missouri may change constantly, but the good times at the McGennis Old Barn Theater never change due to the talent and devotion of those involved in the production of the annual play."

Board members representing Vernon County included, Virginia Habjan, Nevada; Bonnie Teel, Rich Hill; Greg and Eugenia Brocka; Scott and Jennifer Byers, Deerfield; Den and Jane Westerhold, Rich Hill; Jim and Wendy Barton, Rich Hill; Debbie Balk, Rich Hill; and Scott and Tina Sudkamp, Sheldon.

There is no charge for the use of the Center, with the exception of a suggested $1 for swimmers. However, the center is a non-profit organization and any contributions are greatly appreciated.

Certainly the McGennis Youth Center is "the place for the kid in all of us."

An investment in the Youth Center is a good place for your money to be put to work. This can be done by sending your financial support to Carla Armentrout, treasurer, R.R. 1, Box 76, Hume, MO 64752.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large