This is the third in a series of columns with information taken from the McGennis Youth Center 2009 Annual Report which was presented at the annual Mary A. McGennis Agricultural Park and Youth Center board meeting. This is also last in the series, and future columns will include other subjects. There is additional information in the report that will not be included in these columns.
As indicated last week the center is an important facility located north of Metz and an effort is being made to increase the awareness of what has happened for, and at, the center during the past year.
Included in the report is information on the Old Barn Theatre where stars shine everywhere. Rhonda Headley is the director of the Old Barn Theater, a position that she has capably held for so many years that she can't count them. It started while she, Greg Brocka and Bob Schlyer were working together at school.
She said, "This year, 2009, was a remarkable year for the McGennis Theatre Stars. Not only did they shine as always for three nights in August, they reunited for a warm glow in front of the Old Barn Theatre, they took to an actual stage at Rising Sun Opera (formerly known as the Booth Theater) located in downtown Rich Hill."
Each year the play is fun to watch and the "characters" always do a good job. Often they are really characters, because each performance will be different in some way -- even the director does not know what they might do. This produces an abundance of laughs from the crowd -- and from the cast.
The performance at the Old Barn Theatre was held Aug. 13, 14 and 15. I was planning to attend, but circumstances beyond my control at the time made it impossible for me to attend. The title for the summer performance was "Murder Most Fowl." For a crowd of more than 200 in attendance "Happy Hollandaise" was brought to them in downtown Rich Hill in December.
Rhonda concluded her report by saying, "The talented cast and those who always support theatre in this community are to be commended for the light given to many throughout the year."
I understand that Ronda is going to direct another performance at the Old Barn Theatre this coming summer. I am hoping my schedule will not conflict again and that I will be able to attend this year's performance.
To use the facilities at the center for picnicking and/or camping, it is recommended that you call for reservations at (417) 484-3216. You are welcome to come without making reservation, but reservations have priority.
Swimming at the center is not far-off, and will begin, weather permitting, Sunday, May 30, during Memorial Day weekend. Hours for swimming are 1 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday, with the lake closed for swimming on Monday and Tuesday. If weather is questionable, it is suggested you call the center at (417) 484-3216.
No swimming is permitted at the center without lifeguards that are hired by the center. Swimming in the lake is different than swimming in a pool; the lifeguard training is specialized for this. Swimming in the lake is special and provides an enjoyable event. Most of the time when swimming during my early life it was in a pond. At that time for me swimming in a pool was rare.
The board has made a decision this year to suggest a donation of $1.50 for the use of the facilities for swimming.
In the report is an appropriate statement, "Our annual report is never complete without a word about our founding lady, Mary A. McGennis. Her vision is a reality and thus she lives on in every child that uses the center. Those of us who knew her personally miss her wisdom and wit and vitality. Mary laid the ground work for us and entrusted her dream to those that follow. May we be worthy and as dedicated to always keeping the dream alive?"
According to the financial report the total receipts for the year were $32,000. The distributions for the year were $30,000.
For additional information about the McGennis Youth Center contact the center at (417) 484-3216, or any of the board members. Board members representing Vernon County include: Greg and Eugenia Brocka, Scott and Jennifer Byers, Den and Jane Westerhold, Jim and Wendy Barton, Debbie Balk, Scott and Tina Sudkamp, Virginia Habjan and Bonnie Teel.
The Mary A. McGennis Agricultural Park and Youth center depends on financial support from private sources. A good way to invest in youth in the area is by donating to the youth center. Donations may be sent to Carla Armentrout, treasurer, RR1, Box 76, Hume, MO 64752.