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Youth Crew accepting registration, volunteers for second-annual kickball tourney

By MIKE COURSON Great Bend Post

It's time to kick the habit of using tobacco or nicotine products. Quite literally this March. For a second year, the Central Kansas Partnership's Youth Crew is organizing a kickball tournament. Juvenile Services Director Marissa Woodmansee said she hopes the event continues to grow.

"Last year, we had over 100 participants with 100 spectators," she said. "It was bigger than we could have even imagined. It was such a beautiful day and, rain or shine, we'll do it again this year. We just want to continue to make it a fun event."

Youth Crew members, or students in grades 6-12, came up with the idea for kicking the habit of using tobacco or nicotine products, including vaping devices. A mini-grant was written, and the first kickball tournament was born last year.

"The kids planned it," Woodmansee said. "The kids did everything as far as the budget we had, which was a meager $300. We made that $300 stretch. We did have some in-kind donations that came the day of the event that continue to let us do the work and other activities for the kids."

After last year's tournament, Youth Crew broke down the things that worked or did not work to make this year's tournament even better. Some 15 members of the Youth Crew steering committee are broken into groups to work on media, set-up and teardown, setting up brackets, and rounding up volunteers.

The tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at 1 p.m. at the Great Bend Sports Complex, is open to players grades 6-12. Juvenile Services staff have already reached out to Lincoln and Riley Elementary Schools in Great Bend to develop teams.

"Family Support Workers that do our All Stars are really good about getting these kids pumped up in the schools about being a participant in this, said Community Case Manager Casey Rowland. "It really is a good growth for our kids."

The brackets will be divided by age groups with three volunteers working each field in the tournament to ensure fair pitching and other officiating. Players will receive a swag bag and t-shirt. Team registration is now available online by CLICKING HERE, or volunteers can sign up by calling Juvenile Services at (620) 793-1930.

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