Independence teenager takes reins of Northland pioneer jamboree

04/08/2014 12:00 AM

04/07/2014 9:33 AM

The hundreds of children who are expected to turn out for a 19th-century festival on the grounds of the Shoal Creek Living History Museum in Hodge Park on Saturday will have a 16-year-old girl to thank for their fun.

The Kids Spring Jamboree is new for the Shoal Creek Association and responsibility for its success has been placed in the hands of the youngest volunteer event coordinator in the association’s history — Hollee Lynch, a junior at William Chrisman High School in Independence.

“She’s a real go-getter,” said association president Martha Edmunds. “Hollee volunteered to chair the event at one of our brainstorming sessions.”

Lynch has been involved with the association for two years through her father’s participation as a Civil War re-enactor. “I like to watch history come alive,” she said.

The living history museum is a village created of local 19th-century buildings that have been moved to the park. They include cabins, a store, a blacksmith barn, a schoolhouse, a jail, a mansion and other historic sites. Established in 1975, the village traditionally sponsors a fall harvest-themed event and a St. Nicholas visit in December.

Volunteering to coordinate a new event in the spring seemed like a good way to combine an interest in history and children with her favorite time of year, Lynch said.

She planned the jamboree for families with children younger than 15. About 600 children are expected to hunt for plastic eggs, make spring puppets out of paper bags, walk on stilts, compete in sack races and enjoy other 19th-century games and crafts.

“Moms or dads with infants can push a stroller through the park while older kids do crafts,” Lynch said.

Although she is the youngest volunteer to chair such an event for the Shoal Creek Association, Lynch found strong support for her organizational skills among the older members of the group.

“She took the idea and ran with it,” said Chris Stockton, a member of the board of directors.

John Fulmer, another board member, added “good mechanical ability” to the list of Lynch’s skills.

“I first met her when we had to remodel the concession stand last summer,” Fulmer said. “Seeing her with a hammer, a saw and a caulking gun gave me the confidence that she could tackle this new event.”

To promote the jamboree, Lynch created fliers and posted them at businesses. She also planned children’s activities that would have been appropriate in the 1800s and is coordinating more than 35 volunteers to help with the jamboree on Saturday.

Managing many things at once is not new to Lynch. At school, she holds a 3.85 grade-point average, is a member of the Garden Club, Reptile Club, swim team and the Association for Chrisman Excellence. She also works about 25 hours a week at a fast-food restaurant.

To her time management and organizational skills, Lynch is now adding money management.

She says what surprised her most about planning the jamboree was “the cost of everything and staying within a budget.”

Older members of the association have been helping her shop for supplies and she has learned to think in terms of expenses in planning for crafts projects and candy for the egg hunt.

There is no cost to attend the event. The association is operated as a not-for-profit by volunteers.

Soft drinks, candy, chips and hot dogs will be sold by the Shoal Creek Questers, an antique study group dedicated to supporting the association through concession sales and grants.

In addition to outdoor family fun, Faye Ann Roberts said she hopes the jamboree helps young people “appreciate and experience pioneer life.”

Roberts is a member of the Questers and treasurer of the Shoal Creek Association. Proceeds from concession sales will be used for programming and restoration of buildings.

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