KSDE Weekly

Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition

Sunflower Summer Campout draws 22 families to Tuttle Creek State Park

Sunflower Summer Campout draws 22 families to Tuttle Creek State Park

29,268 people have accessed a venue featured on Sunflower Summer app

The Sunflower Summer program is seeing a lot of success since it launched just a few weeks ago.

Students and families are able to engage in learning together while touring some of Kansas attractions – all for free.

One recent event – the Sunflower Summer Campout at Tuttle Creek State Park in Manhattan – allowed 90 students and adults, representing 22 families, to fish, kayak, canoe, learn about animals, spot different plants along a nature trail, meet celebrities and enjoy elk burgers.

“This was a great event,” said Linda Lanterman, state parks director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). “Everyone had a good time. All of the families were so grateful and really enjoyed the event.”

The campout, which took place July 22-23, was part of the Sunflower Summer program and was sponsored by KDWP, Tuttle Creek State Park and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

“The Sunflower Summer program has been a homerun for our state, and that’s thanks to our partners who’ve pulled out all the stops to make these experiences so meaningful for our students and their guardians,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks provided a camping experience that these families will never forget. It was exactly what we wanted to see; families exploring and learning while having fun together.”

The event was open to all Kansas students and families through the Sunflower Summer program. Campers came from all across the state, including Fort Riley, Andover, Assaria, Carbondale, Centralia, Emporia, Lawrence, Ogden, Salina and Wichita.

After checking in Thursday, July 22, families received a free campsite, which included a tent, sleeping bag for each member of the family and a Coleman cooler. Campers were greeted by Lanterman and Watson.

Breakout activities were next and included three stations – fishing, kayaking/canoeing and archery.

For dinner, campers were treated to elk burgers, hot dogs and sides. Taylor Clark, Miss Kansas 2021, entertained guests by playing three songs on her drum set and taking photographs with students.

Evening activities wrapped up with a live animal talk with Pat Silovsky, director of Milford Nature Center, a hike guided by Amber Myers, an AmeriCorps member, and s’mores made around a campfire.

After a restful slumber, guests enjoyed breakfast burritos and more games before the close of camp at noon.

The Sunflower Summer Program, which is being funded by federal COVID-19 money to offer summer enrichment activities for Kansas students, is a collaboration between KSDE, Kansas Department of Commerce, KDWP, Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, KU Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and Greenbush Education Service Center.

The app, which can be downloaded at sunflowersummer.org, allows users to access tickets to about 70 attractions across the state for free. Each Kansas student (pre-K through 12th-grade) and up to two adults may access a ticket voucher to each of the participating attractions in the Sunflower Summer app. After the first use, the Sunflower Summer passport (in the app) will be stamped, and the ticket will no longer be accessible.

The Sunflower Summer program runs through Aug. 15. Funding for this program is limited, and tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since its release at the beginning of July, 29,268 people have accessed a venue featured on the Sunflower Summer app – including 17,679 children. On Saturday, July 24, the app had its highest usage day to date – 2,651 people.

For more information, visit sunflowersummer.org.

This project is developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #S425U210002, as part of an award totaling $553,723,455, with 0% financed with non-governmental or non-federal sources. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021,
Categories: KSDE,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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