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Apr 26

Jeff Meyers is newest member of Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners

Posted on April 26, 2018 at 3:25 PM by Becky Burnside

Jeff Meyers of Shawnee was recently appointed by the Board of Johnson County Commissioners to serve as a representative to the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District

"I like to be involved in civic and community activities and have a positive impact on people’s lives," Meyers said. "I bring a great deal of civic and community experience and a passion for leadership involvement for continuing positive impact for Johnson County residents." 
A teacher and football coach by profession, Meyers retired from the Olathe School District after 34 years, and now teaches in the Independence (Mo.) School District at James Bridger Middle School, and he coaches football at William Chrisman High School. He holds a bachelor's degree in secondary physical education from Kansas State University. 

His professional and civic memberships include: serving as a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Shawnee Council #2332, the American Football Coaches Association, the Shawnee Irish American Club, and the Shawnee Sister Cities Committee, where he was a board member. 

Meyers served as mayor of the city of Shawnee for 11 years, and as a city councilman in Shawnee for 11 years. He also served on the Shawnee Zoning Board of Appeals for six years, on the BiState Commission for Union Station, and he is a Past Chair for the Council of Mayors for Johnson and Wyandotte counties. 

Originally from Kansas City, Mo., his family moved to Olathe in 1973. A resident of  Johnson County for 46 years, he and his wife, Susie, currently live in Shawnee. 

Meyers was appointed to the Second District seat on the JCPRD board by Johnson County Commissioner Jim Allen.  This seat was previously held by Chris Carroll. Meyers' term will run through Jan. 31, 2020. He has also been assigned to the board’s Parks & Golf Courses, and Safety, Heritage & Outdoor Education committees. 

"I feel the greatest challenge for JCPRD is keeping up the existing infrastructure in our parks and recreation district and the creation of new infrastructure for the district’s growth," he said. "The greatest strength of JCPRD is the staff and employees that work every day in making JCPRD one of the top park and recreation districts in the nation. My goal is to do my part as a representative of the board to facilitate the continuation of the excellence this district represents."

Apr 26

Four parent and child programs begin new seasons in May

Posted on April 26, 2018 at 12:55 PM by Becky Burnside

Bring your young child to have fun, bond, and learn new things during four JCPRD intergenerational programs which have new seasons launching in early or mid-May.

Programs include: Walks in the Woods, which meets weekly at the Mill Creek Activity Center; Retro Story and Art Fun, and Jo Ho Storyteller, which both take place monthly at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center; and Animal Tales Storytime, which takes place twice per month at the Ernie Miller Nature Center. With the exception of Animal Tales, which is a popular drop-in program, these programs require advance registration. 

Walks in the Woods is a weekly exercise program for all ages with an adult. Participants will meet at the Mill Creek Activity Center to enjoy low-intensity walking adventures on the nearby Mill Creek Streamway Park. Walking in nature is great for overall wellness and learning about nature! The first walk is set for 11 a.m. on May 2, and additional walks will follow on Wednesdays through Aug. 29.

The cost for each 45-minute session is $3 per person per session for Johnson County residents or $5 per person for nonresidents. 

In Retro Story and Art Fun for ages three to five with an adult, parents and preschoolers will enjoy the stories and illustrations from long ago, read by a special guest from the Johnson County Museum’s 1950s All-Electric House. After each session’s story presentation, enjoy an art activity for little hands. Stories change monthly, connecting to KidScape community environments, and Kansas Early Learning Standards. These programs take place beginning at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday early each month through August. 

The first program in the new season is called “The Three Bears,” and will take place on May 2. This classic Little Golden Book edition of the famous folk tale has brought Goldilocks and the three bears to life since 1948. Participants can cut and color their own set of characters from the book after the story! Other upcoming Retro Story and Art Fun programs this season will include: “A Day at the Seashore” on June 6, “The Telephone” on July 11, and “Doctor Dan the Bandage Man” on Aug. 1.

The cost for each 45-minute program is $2 per child, and museum members receive a 20 percent discount but must register by telephone or in person to receive their discount. Registration for these programs does not include admission to the Johnson County Museum or to KidScape. 

Animal Tales Storytime invites young children and their parents to come listen and learn during any or all of the six sessions scheduled on Wednesdays between May 2 and July 25 at the Ernie Miller Nature Center. This program is for ages two to six, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Animal Tales Storytime features stories, songs, and surprises. Participants will also get to meet a special animal friend at each session. Advance registration is not required for this program.

Animal Tales presentations this season include:  a  May 2 session called “Fairies in the Forest;” a  May 16 session called “Snakes & Snails;” a June 6 session called “Animal Surprise;”   a June 20 session called “Turtle Time;” a July 11 session called “Peter Rabbit;” and a session on July 25 called “Who’s Hiding in the Prairie?” Advance registrations are not necessary for this program. Each session takes place on a Wednesday beginning at 10:30 a.m. The cost per 30-minute session is $2 per person, including adults, payable at the event. 

Titled simply Jo Ho Storyteller, this series of stand-alone programs is for ages three to five with an adult, and involve entertaining and educational stories involving nature, history, culture, and art, being presented by local Storyteller Jo Ho.

The first program of the new season is called “Cuddle Chums,” and will take place on Wednesday, May 16. Hear stories about the cat and dog who are friends, the mother hen who cares for puppies, and the bear, lion, and tiger who are all pals. Come and enjoy these delightful true animal friendship tales, and learn how creatures can look beyond their differences and see the wonderfulness of each other. 

Other upcoming Jo Ho Storyteller programs this season include: “Musical Tales with Shakers, Chimes, and Drums” on June 20; “Blue Ribbons at the County Fair” on July 18; and “Under the Sea” on Aug. 15.

These programs take place beginning at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. The cost for each one-hour program is $2 per person, and museum members receive a 20 percent discount but must register by telephone or in person to receive their discount. Registration for these programs does not include admission to the Johnson County Museum or to KidScape. 

The Mill Creek Activity Center is located at 6518 Vista Drive, Shawnee. The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is located at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. The Ernie Miller Nature Center is located at 909 N. Kansas-7 Highway, Olathe. 

Apr 26

Some spaces still available in JCPRD summer camps, but don’t delay

Posted on April 26, 2018 at 12:05 PM by Becky Burnside

Summer is approaching quickly, and while some JCPRD summer camps have already filled, we still have space available in a number of programs.

Our camp programmers recently suggested best bets for vacancies, and you’ll find their suggestions listed below. Most of the camps can be found in our Summer Camp Guide, and all of them can be found online at Just because the camp your child is interested in isn’t listed here, doesn’t mean there’s not still space, so be sure to check. But for your best choice of programs act quickly!

Fine Arts Coordinator Devin Graham suggested openings in a number of arts-related camps. These include: 3D Arts Lab for ages 10 to 17 beginning June 4; POP! Arts Lab for ages 11 to 17 beginning June 11; Mini Michelangelo Camp for ages four to seven beginning June 18; Faces and Figures Lab for ages 11 to 17 beginning June 18; and Creative and Cultural Arts Lab for ages six to 15 beginning Aug. 6. And there is still space in The Theatre in the Park Summer Academies! For more information on the academy, contact [email protected]  

Children’s Services Specialist Lisa Hughes suggested Young Explorers Camps for ages three to five, which is offering a total of 32 sessions at New Century Fieldhouse, Antioch Park, Roeland Park Community Center, and at Lenexa’s Craig Crossing Park.

Corporate and Community Wellness Assistant Kim Gross suggested a variety of camps, including six at the Mill Creek Activity Center. These include: Games: Marble Camp for grades two to six beginning June 6 and July 11Engineering For Kids - The Amazing Race Camp for ages six to 12; Engineering Olympiad Camp for ages seven to 12; Engineering For Kids - Momentum Madness for ages seven to 12; Checkmate Chess Camp for ages six to 13; and Rowing for Teens for ages 14 to 18. Her other suggestion was iCode Camp  for ages six to 12 at Aubry Bend Middle School beginning June 4 and June 18, and Sunset Ridge Elementary beginning July 9.

Outdoor Education Manager Bill McGowan said programs with likely vacancies include the Outdoor Discovery Camp at Shawnee Mission Park for ages eight to 12 (many of the camp’s Ernie Miller Park sessions have filled and have waiting lists), as well as GO “X” Camp for ages 13 to 15, also at Shawnee Mission Park, and Climbing & Rappelling Camp for ages 12 to 15 at the TimberRidge Adventure Center on June 11 and June 18.

Recreation Assistant Nicole DeHaven recommended FUNdamentals using LEGO® Camp for ages seven through 12 at the Roeland Park Community Center. 

Youth Sports Coordinator Stephanie Chase said likely bets for sports camp openings at Mid-America West Sports Complex including; T-Ball: Baseball/Softball Camp - Introduction to T-Ball  for ages 3-4 with parent or guardian; T-Ball: Baseball/Softball Camp - T-Ball and Coach Pitch Level 1 for ages five to seven beginning June 4 and June 5T-Ball: Baseball/Softball Camp- T-Ball and Coach Pitch Level 2 for ages six to eight. Other likely camps at MAWSC include: Summer Break Basketball Camps at Okun Fieldhouse for kindergarten through third grade and grades four through eight; and Summer Break Volleyball Camp for grades three through eight at Okun Fieldhouse beginning June 11 and July 16, and at New Century Fieldhouse beginning June 19 and July 31

New Century Fieldhouse Coordinator Jamie Kempfe said there is also space available in a number of additional sports camps throughout the summer. These include: British Soccer First Kicks Camp for ages three to five; British Soccer Half Day Camp for ages six to 12; and British Soccer Full Day Camp  for ages seven to 12, all at Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park. Another suggestion was Skills & Scrimmage Soccer Camp for ages five to 15 at New Century Fieldhouse, where one session begins June 25  and another begins July 16.

This list is not comprehensive, and even if you don’t see the camp you’re interested in here, be sure to check the website or call registration at (913) 831-3359, as there are small numbers of openings in many other JCPRD camps as well.

Registrations for 2018 camps, which are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, began in late January with the publication of the district’s 2018 Summer Camp Guide. Additional summer camps, consisting largely of sport camps, are listed in the May through August My JCPRD Activities catalog. This year’s camps include more than 65 programs aimed at ages three through 17. Camps range from partial-day programs serving a variety of interests, to full-day programs with supervision from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Most full-day camps offer weekly sessions from June 4 through July 30, while other camps begin throughout the summer.

Financial assistance is available for some camps on a limited basis for qualifying families. For grant information and application materials, call (913) 826-3014.