Easter egg hunt to roll Recreation: The 'monster event,' and several other programs, were in jeopardy until the County Council voted to allow the Crofton Civic Association to fund them.

February 04, 1997|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

The Easter egg hunt will go on as scheduled.

The County Council voted last month to let the Crofton Civic Association continue spending money raised in the special tax district on such traditions as the 10-year-old egg hunt and its Armed Forces Day parade.

That vote put to rest worries stirred by a ruling last year from the county law office that because the district's statement of purpose in county law did not specifically include the recreation programs, the association could not spend tax district money on them.

Before the council's vote, with her program thrown into legal limbo, former recreation assistant Sue Bents began lining up community groups and business sponsors for the holiday events.

It costs $10,000 to pay the salary of a part-time recreation assistant and put on events the community has begun to expect.

"I wanted to make sure that if the CCA couldn't continue the program, other people would be interested," Bents said.

In the meantime, Bents moved from the recreation job into the more secure position of administrative assistant at Town Hall.

Job No. 3

In October, Linda VanSickel, a 47-year-old mother of three with two other jobs, agreed to be Bents' replacement.

VanSickel's 15-hour-a-week job was set only through the end of June, the end of the fiscal year. The County Council decision means that money for activities and for the recreation assistant's salary will stay in the budget for the coming fiscal year.

Bents still fears that if the civic association continues to operate under a zero-growth budget, the recreation program she built up will be cut.

"It's hard to let your baby go," she said.

Since 1990, Bents has expanded the recreation program from a handful of holiday-related activities to the 14 community activities held last year.

VanSickel wants the program to continue to thrive.

"I think it brings about more community pride, a friendliness that sometimes we don't have time for anymore," VanSickel said. "I like to go to the activities and see people smile."

She moved to Crofton with her family more than 11 years ago and was pleased to find a community with the same small-town feel as the community she left behind -- Sheffield, Iowa, population 1,200.

"I have a bad habit of not being able to say no," VanSickel said, recalling years of working booths at community fairs, dressing up as a witch and Madame Pumpkin, and running errands for Crofton events.

She now will coordinate those events in addition to being a substitute teacher at Crofton Woods Elementary School and directing the school's Open Door Program for children who need supervision before and after school.

Hands-on training

Bents, also 47 and a mother of three, has been training VanSickel in how to get parade permits, plan bus trips and apply for grants.

And she will run the Easter egg hunt this spring.

"It's just a monster event," Bents said. "It's like having a birthday party for 700 children."

VanSickel's list of things to do this week includes buying enough small toys to fill the 6,000 plastic eggs Bents bought the day after Easter last year.

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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