Helping Build Communities Stronger asks teens for input

The Helping Build Communities Stronger group met last Wednesday to continue discussion on plans for the upcoming Friendship Days celebration in Hills.

Work on regular annual events continued on schedule. Discussion continued on adding new activities, especially geared toward ages 13 to 20.

The group intends to have a mud volleyball tournament and invite each grade at the high school to register a team.

Plans to include younger visitors in the street dance were quickly stopped because of insurance and liability issues. However, the group agreed it was important to provide entertainment for people who are not old enough to attend the dance.

HBCS President Doug Kraayenhof asked Chris Harnack if he could invite a sample group of  teenagers to the next meeting to share their input on planning events.

Funding was also discussed at the meeting. Greg Leenderts represented the Rock Nobles Cattlemen’s Association. He said the group was interested in making a “sizable” donation if the group would consider some “throwback” branding options.

Adding the word beef back into the name was suggested. Before the Hills Community Club began organizing Friendship Days, the residents of Hills celebrated Beef Days.

He was also interested in being named as a sponsor of activities.

The HBCS was very interested in partnering with the group but felt it was necessary to keep Friendship Days as the name, due to recognition, although it was discussed to tag the name with “Beefing up our communities” or “Beefing up Friendship Days.”

During the discussion Kraayenhof informed the group that there was money in the bank, thanks to the generosity of the Hills Community Club.

The funds are the result of the savings from the former Hills Community Club. The club went inactive this fall but wanted the money donated and raised during their years of success to be used to continue  to provide entertainment to the residents of the area.

Members of the HBCS are grateful to the Hills Community Club and look forward to bringing new traditions to the celebrations and reinforcing the old.

After the meeting Kraayenhof said, “I would like to recognize their hard work and efforts.”

He continued, “As a group we are going to carry out the wishes and objectives that they strove for all along.”


Parade to be judged

The group is looking to encourage more local participation in the parade on Saturday, June 8.

They are going to ask each town, Beaver Creek, Hills and Steen, to submit a float that best represents their community. The three floats will be judged and a traveling trophy will be awarded to the winner.

Judges will also select the best float from among the other floats in the parade. Judging will happen during parade line-up and be announced during the parade.

Area groups, neighborhoods, day cares, streets and families are invited to participate. Marilyn Nelson will be heading up the parade. To pre-register for the parade,  contact her at


Other Friendship Days plans

•The tractor pull will start earlier in the afternoon and will include tractor races for younger children. Those children, ages six and under, can bring their own tractors to race.

•Food vendors will be set up near the softball field at the park for the noon meal.

•Six Mile Road will play the street dance on Saturday night.

•The Tri-State Buffalos game will be Saturday night.

•There is an attempt to schedule a local softball game on Friday night.



The HBCS is a group that focuses on community.

Their goal is reaching out to the Beaver Creek, Steen and Hills 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 quasquicentennial and the Steen Reformed Church’s centennial.

The group has appointed people to represent each of three communities; Chad Rauk from Beaver Creek, Ted Larson from Hills and Mel VanBatavia from Steen. Contact them for more information on upcoming events.

Visitors are also welcome to attend their next meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, at the Beaver Creek Fire Hall.

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