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My BackYard Playground enhancements planned
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Great Bend High School students will help install additional hardwood mulch next month at the My BackYard playground, Great Bend Recreation Commission board  members learned Monday.
The mulch has been purchased from Athco LLC, GBRC Executive Director Diann Henderson said. It is scheduled to arrive a day or two before GBHS’s Community Volunteer Day on April 27.
Henderson has also released specs for a water fountain that she hopes can be installed at the playground by May 1.
The board also learned that eight new aluminum backless benches for the dugout areas will be installed at youth baseball and softball fields this spring.
“We inspect them every year,” Henderson said. Fields receiving new benches are Westfall (two fields), Brit Spaugh South and Veterans West.  

Audit contract
The board approved a three-year contract with Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball Certified Public Accountants to continue to provide GBRC audits. The local firm submitted the only bid.

Staff certifications
Megan Hammeke, program coordinator of Seniors, Special Needs, and Aquatics, has completed training and received Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor certification. She will complete her Aquatic Facility Operator certificate in April.
Chris Umphres, assistant director/sports director, has completed his recertification with the National Recreation & Park Association as a certified playground inspector.

GBRC program
directors’ reports
Hammeke said bowling continues to be popular with the special needs clients, with 95 participants in February. The Valentine’s dance drew a large crowd with 111 participants. The king and queen of the dance were Larry Clements and Pam Babcock.  
Hammeke also reported on programs for senior citizens. February saw people participate in Fit for Life classes – they met 12 times with 327 participants – and three different levels of Tai Chi instruction that met 20 times. Gentle Yoga exercise class met eight times with 68 participants.
Umphres noted that the youth indoor soccer leagues started practice Feb. 20 and games started March 5-6.  
The soccer program is scheduled to end late April.  
Youth soccer games will run on Saturdays and Sundays this year. Games will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday and finish about 9:30 p.m.
Adult volleyball is still going strong, with games being played every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Monday and Wednesday games are played at the Panther Activity Center. The Friday league starts after youth indoor soccer practices.
Garet Fitzpatrick reported on leisure programs, noting that the Imagination Playground is set up on the first and third Wednesdays at the Activity Center. It is free for children ages 2 years and older accompanied by an adult. Morning sessions meet from 9:30–11 a.m. and evening sessions are from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
He also noted that GBRC held its spring Kansas Hunter Education course on March 5 at the Great Bend Police Training Facility. Once again Tim Boxberger was the head instructor along with three other instructors. They had 19 students register and 15 students showed up and passed the course.  The next class will be offered in the fall.
GBRC Director Diann Henderson reported that for the month of February, there were 3,008 people enrolled in programs sponsored by the Recreation Commission. The total participation for the month was 9,933, of which 3,416 were spectators. Last month GBRC offered a total of 1,045.5 hours of supervised activities.

 Additional reporting by Susan Thacker.