Pilot story and photos by Lynn Davis
The Kalmiopsis PTA reminded the community of how fun it was to be a kid Saturday when the group had their children's carnival.
Families spent the day trying new things, laughing together, and challenging themselves while winning prizes. Volunteers joined together to help organizers raise money to benefit the students of Kalmiopsis Elementary School.
Organizers hoped to earn enough money to cover the $3,000 price tag for the event's inflatable attractions, and have some left over to add to their general fund.
"We cleared the cost of the inflatables, so anything after that is a bonus," said lead organizer and PTA President Cherri McCorkle.
Although profits are down by around $1,500-$2,000 compared to last year, the association was able to add $1,000 to its general fund, bringing it to a balance of just under $10,000.
"We are not anywhere near our goal of $20,000 we had hoped to achieve by the end of the school year," she reported. "It's a fundraiser, but we don't put a lot of emphasis on the fund-raiser part.
"Last year, I think we did a lot better. I think the weather played a huge part. The families who were planning on coming were probably already doing something else by the time the sun finally came out."
Proceeds from this, and other PTA efforts, fund special school programs, safety mats for underneath playground equipment, and may also be tapped in the near future to help fill in some of the gaps created by recent budget cuts.
Principal Chris McKay was happy everyone had fun.
"Once it got going, I thought it was great," she said. "I think the kids enjoyed the variety.
"It had an exciting air about it. A lot of hard work went into it by just a handful of people. The PTA members were very committed to the project."
The staff at Kalmiopsis, as well as several volunteers from the community, did their best to help the day run smoothly for the PTA.
"Our custodians, Sue Snyder and Denise Gardner, donated their time at no charge to the district," said McKay. "They were here from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m."
Former PTA President for Upper Chetco School David Nelson agreed with McKay.
"We couldn't have pulled it off without the help of the K-School staff and all of the volunteers," he said.
His wife, Rachel, joined him for the day selling popcorn and spongy-animal-walking-pet-thingies. Their 12 year-old son, Jordan, volunteered his Saturday as well, which made it a family affair.
"My husband's a regular volunteer. When he helps, he brings his family," laughed Rachel. "The entire PTA only has 54 members. They really need more help. It's a really wonderful family thing to do."
"It helps the community and the schools," added Jordan.
To facilitate a successful event, the PTA and staff at K-School were joined by members of several other organizations who either volunteered their time, or donated a portion of their proceeds.
The LaHoja family from Smith River donated the use of their Winnie the Pooh Bouncer, while Kevin Bane and Steve Brown from KURY Radio offered up their people skills to help run the cake walk.
"The cakes came from all kinds of people," said McCorkle. More than 80 cakes were offered to participants.
Volunteers from the Harbor Fire Department manned the Pepsi booth, and the Boy Scouts, the Booster Club, Port Sports, and Daryn Farmer all chipped in 10 percent of their profits for the day. All proceeds from the big fundraisers for the PTA went straight into the pot, as well.
Together, they offered the crowd opportunities to climb a towering rock wall, experience life inside a bubble, stick themselves upside-down on a wall of Velcro, walk for a cake and, after eating a meal of freshly made cotton candy, sandy candy and Pepsi, children could then bounce off the walls.
"We can't keep up with it," said Boy Scout Volunteer and cotton candy maker Stacy Kreger. "We're selling them faster than we can make them."
"We try to share the wealth," said McCorkle, of the PTA's decision to invite businesses and groups from the community to set up shop along side them during the event.
The kids had a great time pondering the choices, and experiencing activities many had never done before.
"It's a blast!" remarked Marianne Padilla.
"We just moved here and it's just been great!" she said. "It's a wonderful community."
Her daughter, 6-year-old, Sarah Padilla, enjoyed taking it all in.
"It's fun when we go-dun down the slide," she giggled.
Andre Padilla, her brother, agreed with her.
"Its just a blast!" he said. "I like the slide too, only I go down faster!"
As with the slide, Port Sport's Climbing Rock Wall proved very popular, too.
"It was a last minute thing," said owner, Mike Shuford. "These things are usually a really big draw."
He stopped for a minute to coach 10 year-old Amanda Wolfe to the top of the wall.
Impressed with this year's efforts, was Brookings-Harbor High School science teacher Stephen Fraser, who brought both of his daughters, Amanda age 7, and Celine age 5, to the party.
"I think its great, I love it!" he said. "The lines are moving faster this year because they changed things a bit. You pay one price and you go on everything. It makes it a lot easier."
Regarding the mostly rainy conditions during the afternoon, he reflected, "Last year I think there was more people because we had better weather."