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Larned, Stafford projects honored
Larned's Angie Murray recognized
paw jm larned pride
Courtesy Photo Kansas Pride Day celebrated a Day of Pride that featured touring the Larned Community Garden recently.

LARNED — Pride programs in Larned and Stafford earned special recognition during a Kansas Pride Day recently at the Larned Community Garden. Honorees each received a plaque from the state Pride program on behalf of its local Pride organization.
Larned Pride Program coordinator Angie Murray was recognized for her exceptional collaboration, commitment and local leadership.
Kansas Pride Day celebrated a Day of Pride that featured touring the Larned Community Garden as a example of a successful community economic development project. The tour drew 43 travelers who expressed appreciation for the new venture. They had opportunities to see successful projects and talk with the volunteers responsible for developing the community garden.
“It was a great chance to show what we’ve done in Larned with the community garden,” Murray said. “They were scheduled to stay just a few minutes, but they were so interested, they stayed as long as they were able. They asked a lot of good questions and learned a lot about our project.”
• The Stafford Pride Program earned a Pride Social Capital Award.
Pride volunteers in Stafford combined funds from a Get It-Do It! grant with an AmeriCorps scholarship to provide health-promoting after-school activities to children in the community.
The effort continues during the summer, and provides an opportunity for engaging activities for youth and a healthy lunch five days a week. The effort also provided summer jobs and skill building leadership opportunities for two teen mentoring participants. The work to build networks and connect youth is an investment in social capital.
• The Stafford Pride Program earned a Pride Natural Capital Award.
 To capitalize on its location as the Gateway to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford Pride volunteers organized 14- to 40-mile area bike rides to highlight opportunities to enjoy the refuge, learn about wildlife in the area and raise money for the Stafford County Hospital.
The project was accomplished with cooperation from the Stafford Lions Club, local businesses and staff from the refuge. It helped the community and its visitors make a connection with the natural world. The project links investment in improving human health with economic development through tourism, all based on utilizing natural capital assets.
Nadine Sigle was Pride coordinator for the trip, which made several stops. In learning more about success stories, Pride volunteers also reported feeling encouraged, and more optimistic about community development, Sigle said.
“In planning the first-time event, we couldn’t have predicted what would be most meaningful,” said Sigle.
Some people were inspired by seeing a restored theater, while others remarked about volunteers’ energy, commitment to their community, and rebuilding ideas from Greensburg. 
Many also said it was helpful to learn about grant opportunities that help fund community and economic development, such as a Small Community Improvement Program (SCIP) grants, sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce. The Kansas Department of Commerce and K-State Research and Extension cosponsor the Pride Program.
The tour ended with a celebratory dinner and Pride awards program at the Larned Community Center.
This year, Pride recognized efforts in several areas of community improvement consistent with the community capitals framework.
The Community Capitals model identifies areas of  investment important to community sustainability, according to Dan Kahl, K-State Research and Extension Pride Program administrator. Areas emphasized are Built, Cultural, Financial, Human, Natural, Political and Social Capital.
Excellence in Pride Awards were given to communities for nominated projects that best exemplified community improvement in these capital areas. The Kansas Pride Program has a 41-year history of encouraging community and economic development throughout Kansas.