All of us at Sunflower Diversified Services truly regret that we could not contract with the Great Bend Recreation Commission this year. Our non-profit agency has appreciated the rec center’s services, and for many years negotiated an annual daytime contract with it.
However, under that contract, we have had to pay for classes that became unavailable and were not rescheduled as per terms of the contract. We received the first notification this year on May 8, indicating the commission wanted to complete it for board approval the following week and it would not be offering an exercise class. This provided no time for negotiations.
Fitness and exercise are extremely important for the people with disabilities whom we serve. Our contracts used to provide access to the Barton Community College swimming pool but the Rec Center was no longer able to offer this activity because of staffing issues. In addition, early in the last contract year it lost the instructor assigned to teach exercise classes; these were never rescheduled as the contract required.
Our staff nurse is certified in fitness and exercise programs for persons with disabilities. We also have added other staff members that are skilled in craft making, cooking and nutrition. This year we will concentrate on building a program to provide these vital supports by making use of our talented staff and arranging for community instructors when needed.
Any decision we make at Sunflower is based on what is best for the folks we serve and this contract is no exception. The $2,800 fee can be better used internally for these daytime activities, as well as more Experience Kansas day trips.
The Rec Center is a valuable community organization and we strongly encourage our clients to take advantage of the evening and weekend programs it offers to all persons in the area with disabilities.
Sunflower has always appreciated the Rec Center’s offerings but there has never been a promise to sign a contract annually. In email communications between the Rec Center Program Coordinator and our CHS Program Coordinator there was only an indication on our part to review and notify of our decision as soon as possible.
This year we have chosen to explore other options but will be happy to look at what the Recreation Commission has to offer in the future.
Ladeska “Decky” Makings
Sunflower chief operating officer