A break from the convention center: 200 SkillsUSA participants volunteer to clean up Kessler Park

This group of students flew all the way from New Jersey to participate in the SkillsUSA conference in Kansas City this week. On June 27, the volunteered to clear brush from Kessler Park. Micah Wilkins

This group of students traveled all the way from New Jersey to participate in the SkillsUSA conference in Kansas City this week. On June 27, they volunteered to clear brush from Kessler Park. Micah Wilkins

Micah Wilkins
Northeast News

June 27, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Looking down into the forested area behind the Northeast’s colonnade on Friday morning, passersby may not have noticed anything different. But with a closer look, they may have noticed the trees rustling. And with an even closer look, they would see groups of people wearing matching blue shirts, trash bags and tools in hand.

Hidden amid the overgrown brush and trees, over 200 volunteers were working hard to clean up Kessler Park, clearing a path for hiking and mountain biking. These 200 volunteers were students and teachers participating in this week’s SkillsUSA national convention at Bartle Hall.

This year marks the 50th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. More than 15,000 high school and post-secondary students from all over showcased their technical and career skills.

“That’s my favorite part, you get to meet different people from around the country, like Kansas, Puerto Rico, Maine,” said Arthur Simmons, a high school student from Atlanta. “We come together, compete, have fun, and help the community.”

SkillsUSA organized groups of volunteers to take a break from the convention center to complete service projects throughout the city. Cleaning up Kessler Park, under the guidance of the Parks and Recreation department, was just one of many projects arranged by SkillsUSA, Simmons said.

“[SkillsUSA] sees the value of giving back to the community,” said Mary McGuire, a teacher at a technical high school in Minnesota.

The convention, which has been held in Kansas City for the last 21 years, has sent groups of volunteers to Swope Park for the last five years, but this year, the Parks department decided Kessler Park had a greater need.

“This park needs it,” said Brett Shoffner, executive director of the Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee. “It needs some loving.”

Within a matter of minutes, volunteers cleared brush and picked up trash, cleaning up a section of the trail faster than Schoffner had anticipated. It turns out two hundred volunteers can get a lot of things done in a short amount of time.

“That’s a good problem to have,” McGuire said.

While most of the participants at SkillsUSA are from other parts of the country, they are happy to volunteer their time to work on projects. The service projects not only benefit the community, but they also help with team building, said Dawn Goebel, another teacher from Minnesota.

“While it’s not our community, it could very well be,” Goebel said. “This could be our park.”

Comments are closed.

  • Living nativity scene with coffee

    19 hours ago
    by

    Northeast News Dec. 19, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Join Eleos Coffee this weekend for a staging of a living […]


    Zhand Appointed Prosecutor in Brooks Allegations

    December 18th, 2014
    by

    Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker this afternoon announced that Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zhand will be appointed Special Prosecutor in […]


    Not just East Patrol anymore

    December 18th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Dec. 18, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — One Kansas City, Mo., police station will no longer just […]


    KCMO Councilman Michael Brooks resigns

    December 17th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Dec. 17, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Fifth District Councilman Michael Brooks has submitted his letter […]


    Namely unprecedented move by city

    December 17th, 2014
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City officials might soon set a new precedent.
    Last Thursday, the city’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously supported the name Leon Mercer


  • Officer involved shooting last Friday

    December 17th, 2014
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A Kansas City police officer shot a woman after she dragged him with her car outside of the Northeast’s Price Chopper last


    City opens fifth high speed fill CNG station, first open to the public

    December 16th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Dec. 16, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City, Mo., Fleet Services Division officially opened […]


    Holiday promotions help support businesses along streetcar route

    December 13th, 2014
    by

    Northeast News Dec. 13, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City residents have more incentive to use shop and eat […]


    AT&Toys

    December 12th, 2014
    by

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Dec. 12, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Salvation Army received a special delivery Friday morning. […]


    Kansas City woman charged with abusing Roadrunner

    December 10th, 2014
    by

    Northeast News Dec. 10, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A Kansas City, Mo., woman has been charged with animal abuse […]


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Holy rosary Christmas crib

    Northeast News This real photo postcard of the Holy Rosary Church’s Christmas Crib was taken during the 1941 holiday season. Holy Rosary Parish, 911 E.

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]

    Quan H. Nguyen

    Quan H. Nguyen White male, 32 Height: 5'6" Weight: 150 lbs. Last known address: 4201 St. John Ave Wanted: Jackson County, Height: 5'6" Weight: 150 lbs. Last known address: 4201 St.