Duane Oestmann from Arkansas City, the 2021-2022 governor of the Kansas Kiwanis District, visited the Great Bend Noon Kiwanis Club on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Also attending the meeting were Oestmann’s wife Pattie, and Cindy Bender, Ellsworth, who serves as the Kansas district secretary and the Division 8 representative for the Kansas Kiwanis Foundation.
Bender noted that the Great Bend Kiwanis Club makes an annual donation to the Kansas Kiwanis Foundation, which gives back to communities in many ways. This year the foundation will award 44 scholarships, worth $28,700, to Kansas high school and college students to assist them with their education. Scholarship applications will be online in the next week at kskiwanis.org.
Oestmann spoke about club strengthening and his goal for each club to add five new members this year.
“We have to get out and talk about what Kiwanis is,” he said, adding local members should find people who are interested in helping with the Great Bend club’s youth projects, which include the county spelling bee, Easter egg hunt, Halloween costume exchange and Halloween candy parade, which will start at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in Jack Kilby Square.
Local Kiwanis President Dan Soeken reported that last Saturday’s costume exchange started with 10 tables and three hanging racks of new and used costumes, and many were given away.
“Halloween has kind of been Great Bend’s thing over the years,” Soeken said. Since there will not be a Zoo Boo this year, the Kiwanis Club and Great Bend’s two Aktion Clubs are expecting a big turnout at the downtown parade.
Amanda Urban, parade coordinator, said this year there will be several businesses from 10th Street joining the Main Street businesses to give away candy, and several churches will set up their trunk or treat giveaways around the courthouse. Police and fire department vehicles will also be in the square. She has recommended each participating business or organization come with 2,000 to 2,500 pieces of candy to give away.
The club meets and has lunch at noon Wednesdays at Walnut Bowl.