“Kansas has more to offer than you think.” That’s the mantra of the South Central Kansas Tourism Region. On Nov. 28, members of the organization put that slogan to the test by venturing onto country roads to discover one of those tucked-away destinations that is nestled in the rolling plains west of Great Bend.
Members conducted their November meeting at Rosewood Winery, which is part of Rosewood Ranch, located five miles north of Pawnee Rock. Although there are more than two-dozen wineries in Kansas, Rosewood Winery is the only one in the nation devoted to providing employment opportunities to people with developmental disabilities. It opened in the fall of 2012 and has provided work opportunities for people with disabilities ever since, producing more than 30 varieties of Kansas wines at that location.
SCKTR is an organization whose members are associated with industries of attractions and events. Members represent 22 Kansas counties that are dedicated to enhancing tourism exposure in the south central Kansas region. Barton County represents the northwest area for that region.
For Wednesday’s meeting, the SCKTR members were hosted by Great Bend community coordinator Christina Hayes, who also heads the Great Bend Visitors and Convention Bureau.
“I love to be able to show off the amazing finds of the Great Bend area,” explained Hayes about coordinating the meeting with the tourism organization and the winery. “Rosewood’s products are highly recommended and the story behind the company is something our area can really brag about. It’s a no-brainer to showcase the winery to the South Central Kansas Tourism group because not only do the members love knowing about our region of Kansas, but they are amazing cheerleaders to showcase our great tourism opportunities to others!”
Great Bend community member Mark Mingenback gave a special presentation to the group titled “Importance of Community Self Image.” In that presentation, he stressed the importance of building positive relationships.
During the meeting, each tourism representative shared upcoming holiday events and activities happening in their locations and across the state of Kansas. Following their meeting, the group had lunch and toured the winery, as well as Rosewood’s equine therapy ranch. They also had the opportunity to participate in wine tasting.
“Our meetings are more meaningful when we have a venue such as Rosewood Winery to hold our meetings,” said SCKTR president Dollie Mathes. “We enjoyed learning about their story and how they came to be. The winery provided a beautiful holiday backdrop for our last meeting of the year. The lunch was very delicious as well. I believe we all came away with a feeling that we will be back sometime on our own or with another group.”