Group forms to build better communities
Begins planning Friendship Days

A group of 20 like-minded residents from Beaver Creek, Hills and Steen met Wednesday, Feb. 27, to discuss planning community activities.

The group is called Helping Build Communities Stronger, and the members wish to “pay honor to the community” by providing entertainment and support through a variety of activities.

The HBCS has appointed people to represent each of three communities: Chad Rauk from Beaver Creek, Tedd Larson from Hills, and Mel Van Batavia from Steen.

As they focus on community, they said they want to make sure they include all three communities. 

Their goal is reaching out to the three committees to help with each other’s activities and build stronger relationships. Coming up they plan to organize events for Friendship Days and the Fourth of July in Hills and both Steen’s quasqui-centennial and the Steen Reformed Church’s centennial.

The primary focus at Wednesday night’s meeting was making decisions and plans for Friendship Days.

In the past the Hills Community Club has organized the event. This fall the group went inactive.

Those in attendance at the meeting took turns assuming planning roles in the three-day celebration in Hills. This year Friendship Days will start on Friday, June 7, and run to Sunday, June 9.

They also discussed adding events geared toward entertaining people between the ages of 13 and 20. Ideas discussed included, paint ball, mud volleyball, boat races, 3-on-3 basketball and a talent show.

The group plans to research these options and discuss them at future meetings.

Other ideas thrown around at the meeting included a Friday night Tri-State Buffalos home football game, men’s softball game on Saturday evening, food vendors, and a community church gathering on Sunday.

Marilyn Nelson will organize the parade. Anyone interested in the details can contact her at

The golf outing on Friday will be planned by the Exchange State Bank.

The 5K run, street dance, pancake supper, pedal pull, inflatables, petting zoo and vendor fair are all in the works as well.

Individuals will report back on Friendship Days progress at the next meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. This meeting will be at the Hills American Legion, but the group plans to have future meetings in both Steen and Beaver Creek.

Doug Kraayenhof is the president of the group and throughout the meeting he stressed community — providing activities for all to enjoy and be part of.

“The people in this community have proved over and over again that if you provide the entertainment they will support it,” he said.

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