By JAMES BELL
As the community gathers together to celebrate the Fourth of July next week, something a little different will pepper the neighborhoods, as children around the community set up a lemonade stand all over town.
The many stands are a part of a larger effort to raise funds for the ARC Park Project and will allow the children to win prizes for their efforts, but more importantly, allow the children to have a stake in the new park.
"We thought that lemonade stands would be a fun way to get kids involved and to feel ownership over the park because that gets them excited and it helps them to want to take care of it in the years to come," said Sarah Meitner, board president of the Arc of Central Plains.
The idea stemmed from a group that raised money last year.
Last year, there were three young ladies that did a lemonade stand,” said Kathy McAdoo, executive director of the Arc of Central Plains. “It was called Looms and Lemonade because they made bracelets on a loom and they sold the bracelets along with the lemonade.”
During their efforts around July 4 last year, that group raised over $1,500 for the park.
“We were just blown away,” McAdoo said.
This year, as the group was looking for ways to continue fundraising efforts, the idea of a lemonade stand challenge surfaced.
“We are so very close to having enough money to order the playground equipment that we are just trying to build a little excitement again,” McAdoo said.
So they contacted the group from last year and found they were going to do it again.
“They were so excited to go ahead and issue the challenge to all of the other kids,” McAdoo said.
As of Thursday, seven groups had signed up, including kids from the Bright Minds Learning Academy, 2106 Wheatland.
“We want to get involved because we think the project is awesome and we are excited for Hays to bring something like that to the area,” said Andrea Felder, owner of Bright Minds Academy. “I could even see us doing field trips over there once they put the splash pad in.”
The stand will be on the north side of the building with preschoolers running the stand in shifts.
Along with the lemonade, they will also be selling cookies for a freewill donation.
“Our lemonade stand is called Squeeze the Day and we will be set up on July 1 from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.,” Felder said. “It will be very original and super cute."
The families of the daycare are donating the supplies for the stand, while the stand will be built and provided by Bright Minds Academy.
“My dad is actually the one that is going to be building it,” Felder said.
"We are excited and I know the kids are super excited to do this," Felder said. "It's always fun for the kids to have the opportunity to do something different outside of their normal daily routine."
The lemonade stands will be judged on three categories, and a prize will be given for each.
The categories are, total money raised, creative design and best name.
“It’s really not about the money that is going to be raised,” McAdoo said. “It’s about the kids that want to do something to help, and they are excited about the park.”