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.

  • Northeast railroad bridge continues to stifle motorists

    August 23rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The sight is all too common; a capsized semi-truck blocking traffic along Independence Avenue.
    Northeast residents know the spot.


    With election certified, Abarca concedes District 19 race

    August 22nd, 2016
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News August 22, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Nearly three weeks after the August 2, 2016 […]


    KCPD to reassign Community Interaction Officers

    August 20th, 2016
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News August 20, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – KCPD Community Interaction Officers will soon be reassigned […]


    KCK woman charged in armed robbery along Independence Avenue

    August 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News August 19, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Twenty-five year old Candance West of Kansas City, Kansas was charged […]


    Tearing it up at Cliff Drive

    August 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News August 19, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Community volunteers from Barkley Advertising converged on various locations throughout Kansas […]


  • Independence Avenue CID finds new home for Royale Inn roses

    August 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News August 19, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID) staff gathered at the site […]


    Man charged for pointing AK47 at police

    August 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News August 18, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – An 18-year-old Kansas City man faces charges of Assault of a […]


    Kessler among parks and boulevards to earn historic designation

    August 18th, 2016
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News August 18, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Historic Northeast’s Kessler Park has been included […]


    Carjacking on Independence Avenue leads to KCPD chase

    August 17th, 2016
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News August 17, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A local man was taken into custody on […]


    Suspected church burglar arrested

    August 17th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News August 17, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – An individual matching the description of a suspect in a recent […]


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Vanderslice made it big in the KC ice and coal business

    Northeast News This week, in celebration of the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, we showcase an advertising postcard published for

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]

    Highest point in Kansas City housed corruption cleanser

    Northeast News This advertising postcard from The Westmoreland Company shows a residence at 74th and Mercier streets.