Fritz’s Adventure to purchase $30,000 of
gift cards in 2022 from area restaurants

By Tim Church
tchurch@bransontrilakesnews.com

Fritz’s Adventure is reinvesting back into the Branson community with the purchase of more than $30,000 of gift cards to area restaurants and eateries.
Fritz’s Supports Local was launched earlier this year. Fritz’s Adventure Chief Marketing Officer John Vaughn shared this initiative was created to give back to the community following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wanted to be able to support local restaurants and eateries. With the pandemic, that industry, like many, has been hit really hard. So we said, ‘What can we do that offers value to local restaurants and eateries, while also offering value to our guests? Allowing us to create surprise and delight moments for our guests,’” Vaughn said. “We got together and said, ‘Let’s do Fritz’s Supports Local. Throughout the year from early spring break through the end of the year, let’s purchase $30,000 of gift cards to these local restaurants and eateries, distribute them to our guests randomly throughout the year.’” With the purchase of these gift cards, Vaughn explained how by giving out free gift cards to their guests they’re creating even more opportunities for area restaurants and eateries. “Our guests enjoy it because they
get free value. They get to go to Gettin’ Basted or they get to go to Parlor Doughnuts or to Hurt’s Donuts or Fuddruckers and there’s lots more partners
that we work with. So they get sort of a meal on us if you will. The restaurant appreciates it, because not only do we buy the gift cards at full value from the restaurant, but they also get the benefit of the individual bringing his or her family,” Vaughn said. “Most often you’ve got mom and dad and then a couple of kids, so we’re taking care of one meal for the family and then they’ll purchase additional meals from the restaurant. I feel like it’s a win for everybody. It’s certainly a win for the local restaurants, it’s a win for our guests and because we’re able to take care of our guests and support our community, it’s a win for us as well.” Additional Branson eateries who have partnered with Fritz’s for this promotion include: Table Rock Coffee Roasters,
Scooter’s Sports Grill, Mr. G’s Chicago Pizza & Pub, Sugar Leaf Bakery, Expresso Branson, Big D’s BBQ, Local Flavor, Danna’s BBQ, Rocco’s New York Style
Pizza and Pickin’ Porch Grill. “I was very surprised that another company would do that for a local business,” Hugo Buentello with Sweet Susie’s Frozen Treats said. “We believe it’s going to open doors for everybody. Branson is a small community and we should all be working together to make people happy and make them have a wonderful experience in Branson. As far as guests receiving a gift card during their next visit to Fritz’s Adventure, Vaughn shared it’s totally random. “We want to create surprise and delight moments. We do promote that we do this, but obviously we can’t take care
of every single guest,” Vaughn said. “Depending on the day you come, we may give away 50 gift cards, we may give away 100 gift cards. It’s truly a random distribution of gift cards. The reception has been very good.” Since the launch of this initiative, Vaughn shared what excites them the most is knowing the gift cards they’re giving out are being used. “Earlier this year we gave away 500 Hurt’s Donuts gift cards and in essence it was truly a free donut. So we would give it to a family, so they would get one free donut. Then obviously purchase a few extra donuts for the rest of the family. At last report, Hurt’s had received over 410 gift cards back out of the 500. So we know the guests are enjoying it and taking full advantage of it.” “Fritz’s Supports Local has been awesome for us. We have seen a lot of folks that we probably would have not normally seen,” Hurts Donuts Owner Shanna Dorlan said. “It’s really fun to get them in here and they talk about Fritz’s Adventure and we get to talk about our donuts. The experience is just awesome.”
Guests of Fritz’s Adventure who received a gift card during the visit are encouraged to take a picture at the attraction with their gift card and post the
photo to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtags #FritzsSupportsLocal and #FritzsAdventure for their chance to be one of the 20 selected this year to win an additional $25 gift card from Andy’s Frozen Custard. “We were excited Fritz’s wanted to partner with us and expose their clients, who already love Branson, to another new place here in town that is just going to help them love Branson even more,” Angie Woods with Parlor Doughnuts
said. Though Fritz’s Adventure already offers more than 80,000 square feet of adventurous fun for families of all ages, Vaughn said they are consistently striving to do more. “There’s that old saying, ‘Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.’ We’re trying to impact as many of those local restaurants as we can. We want to be generous in a world that doesn’t seem to have as much kindness as it used to and doesn’t seem to have as
much generosity as it used to,” Vaughn said. “We’d like to be able to encourage and inspire our guests, local restaurants, their guests and others that hear about this promotion to continue to exhibit kindness, to continue to exhibit generosity, because there are still lots of good people in this world and there’s still a lot of good business owners out there. We sort of want to highlight those people and encourage people to shop at those locations and to be able to give back whatever way they see fit as well.” Inside Fritz’s Adventure, guests will find ziplining, underground tunnels, an airworthy airplane, a massive water tower, extreme slides, climbing walls, warped walls, shipping containers, a laser maze and much more. Fritz’s Adventure is located at 1425
W. 76 Country Blvd. in Branson. The attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Hours are subject to change on select days. For additional information on the Branson attraction or to make ticket reservations visit fritzsadventure.com.

Legacy Academy expands Preschool Options

By Jason Wert
jason@bransontrilakesnews.com

Legacy Academy has announced they will be celebrating 30 years of serving the community with an expansion of their facility on State Highway 165.
The Legacy Preschool will be expanding their operations to include both their location at First Baptist Church in Branson and three new classrooms attached to the Legacy Academy campus. The school will then have openings in their classrooms for two year-olds, three-year-olds, and four-year-olds.
“So much prayer has gone into the steps needed for this growth, God is good and has been faithful to Legacy Preschool every step of the way,” Legacy Preschool Executive Director Kathryn Jones said in a statement.
Jones said the students of the preschool focus on kindergarten readiness through the “Kindergarten in Training” program. She said the students learn correct behavior for kindergarten classrooms like “sitting at the table with calm bodies, eating their food and not playing with it, talking quietly with their neighbors, staying in their own space and keeping their hands to themselves.” More information about Legacy Academy’s preschool program
can be found on their website legacybranson.com.

JATC’s ‘Tender Critters’ project continues

Junior Auxiliary of Taney County continues to supply “Tender Critters” to agencies that need something that offers comfort to children in trauma situations. Tender Critters are new 6” to 18″ stuffed animals that JATC collects or buys and donates to agencies that use them to help comfort children who are in trauma.  Holding a soft cuddly stuffed animal helps kids think of something other than what’s going on around them.  Last month JATC donated over 175 stuffed animals to the Cox Branson ER, the Taney County Sherriff’s Office, and the Taney County Health Department.

 When children face the confusing and often scary experience of a hospital emergency room visit or a hospital stay, or receiving a shot at the Health Department, a cuddly stuffed animal can be the difference between anxiety and reassurance. You can brighten a child’s day by donating one of these “Critters”.

 “Tender Critters” is one of the longest running projects for JATC, with members donating new stuffed animals at each of their monthly meetings.  This collection is a year-round effort and JATC invites members of the community to join us in brightening a child’s day by donating a “tender critter” at any time.  Just send a message to jatcmo@gmail.com, and a JATC member will contact you about picking up your donation.

 A special thanks to Legends in Concert who held their area appreciation for residents of Stone and Taney County last month.  Any guest who brought a new stuffed animal to donate to JATC’s Tender Critter project received a free upgrade to preferred seating. Close to 120 “Critters” were collected.

 JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County.  That’s the magic of JATC.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County. JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in almost 100 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,

Junior Auxiliary Of Taney County Replenishes School Supplies

Good news from the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County website

Junior Auxiliary Of Taney County Replenishes School Supplies

School teachers have been on the front lines this year as they provide our children, our country’s most precious asset, with a healthy learning environment.  Junior Auxiliary was pleased to provide $50 gift cards to 27 teachers in Bradleyville Elementary, Kirbyville Elementary, Mark Twain, and Taneyville schools to purchase items they need for their classrooms.

JATC gave these schools a variety of school supplies in September and in January provided another refresher donation of supplies which included: composition notebooks, wide-ruled paper, wide ruled 1-subject notebooks, 2 pocket folders, crayons, pencils, mechanical pencils, pencil sharpeners, colored markers, ink pens, colored pencils, glue sticks, scotch tape, scissors, index cards, highlighters, rulers, erasers, Expo markers, etc.  Other items designed to help keep the kids healthy such as hand sanitizer, Kleenex, Lysol spray, paper towels, and Clorox wipes were also donated. Gloves, stocking hats, socks, and underwear rounded out the donation to these schools.

Junior Auxiliary members collect high demand items all year.  They shop the sales and save them up for this time of year when the schools run low. The budget allotted for this project allows JA to purchase extra things schools need at this time of year, along with purchasing the teacher Gift Cards, and JA Members supplement the supplies with their donations.  This year the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors Good Neighbor Fund also provided support for this project through a grant to JATC.

Lara Ernsting, Principal at Kirbyville Elementary said “Kirbyville Elementary is very pleased to partner with the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County to continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for our children to learn. The teachers and students will put the school supplies to great use. Thank you Junior Auxiliary.”

 School Supplies is one of many service projects that JATC members provide for the community. Other JATC projects include Tender Critters for children in trauma; Prom Dresses for girls in need; financial and labor support for the Women’s Crisis Center including birthday parties and child care for the children so moms can attend counseling sessions; Santa’s Gift House; Book Swap for children who live in extended-stay motels; and Scholarships for each of the four high schools in Taney County.

Donations for this project and others that JATC provides to the community can be sent to JATC, PO Box 862, Hollister, MO 65673.  More information can be found on the Junior Auxiliary website JATCMO.ORG, their Facebook page, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County or via email at jatcmo@gmail.com.

 Members raise money for this and other projects through one major event – a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, and a Silent Auction.  This year the 20th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson on May 8, 2021.

Come join us at “JATC Trivia Goes Platinum, Celebrating 20 Years of Trivia”.  We hope you will save the date and come help us support the children of Taney County.

We also invite you to support us at Mr. G’s Pizza & Pub Annual JATC Days on February 24 and 25 from 11 am – 8 pm.  You may dine-in or carry out, and 50% of your purchase will be donated to JATC.  All you have to do is mention that you support JATC.

JATC raises money from other events such as Belk’s Charity Days, as well as donations from corporate charitable giving (e.g., Amazon Smile, Microsoft, Walmart, and White River Electric), generous local businesses and churches (e.g., Branson’s Cowboy Church located at God & Country Theatre, Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, Ozark Mountain Ear Nose & Throat, 417 Fundraising, Branson Bank, Central Bank, Ollis, Akers & Arney Insurance, Edward Jones-Mitch and Jennifer Holmes, Edward Jones-Mac McGregor, and Lowe’s.)

JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause.  We are dedicated to helping and making a difference in the lives of the children of Taney County. That’s the magic of JATC.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County.  Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.

JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in 98 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Their slogan is “Caring Hearts—Helping Hands—Changing Lives”.

Arvest Foundation Donates $225K to Ozarks Area Nonprofits

Sharing good news as reported in the Springfield Business Journal

The charitable arm of Arvest Bank issued $225,000 in grants to local nonprofits.

More than 40 organizations from Springfield, Aurora, Branson, Lebanon, Marshfield and Mountain Grove received funding, according to a news release issued this week.

Officials with the Arvest Foundation declined to disclose the donation amounts for all nonprofits, but photos released show $7,500 for the CoxHealth Foundation, $5,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ozarks and $2,500 for The Drew Lewis Foundation Inc.

“All of the recipient organizations are doing important work that empowers and assists many of our neighbors in need,” said Kyle Hubbard, president for Arvest Bank in Springfield, in the release. “We trust these grants reinforce our commitment to the communities we are here to serve.”

CoxHealth Foundation President Lisa Alexander said the funding is going toward a garden of metal tulips at the health care system’s south Springfield campus. Announced last month, each planted tulip represents five patients who have been discharged after receiving treatment for COVID-19. The garden started last month with 300 flowers.

“The tulip garden is a celebration of those lives that have been given great care and returned to their families after fighting COVID-19,” Alexander said in the release.

The Arvest Foundation’s grants focus on K-12 education, economic development and quality-of-life enhancements.