TangerKIDS Grants open for applications

By AJ Meakins
ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

TangerKIDS Grants open for applications
A Branson shopping destination, Tanger Outlets Branson announces applications are open for their 2022 TangerKIDS Grants.
Tanger Outlets Branson launched their TangerKIDS Grant program in 1996, with a mission of providing funding for schools in the community.
According to a press release from Tanger, the program serves future generations of leaders by providing funds for special programs at local schools
geared toward inclusivity. Applications are now open for this year’s grants, with program updates that further incorporate the company’s mission,
vision and values, states the release. Tanger Outlets invites teachers and other education leaders to identify and apply for grants meeting their school’s specific needs as they work to create a more productive and inclusive learning environment. In previous years, TangerKIDS Grants have funded notable projects,
programs and equipment for schools, including: – Branson Backpack Club Program – Reeds Spring Excellence in Literacy – Taneyville Sensory Lab

“Tanger Outlets Branson remains committed to ensuring local students and their schools receive the tools they need to make learning accessible and
inclusive,” Tanger Outlets Marketing Director Karen Foutch said. “Our goal is to open doors and inspire students, and the generous support from our shoppers
has been instrumental in helping us make a positive impact on the next generation.” The program is funded by Tanger shoppers, as $1 from every Tanger coupon
book sold at the center is donated toward the program. New in 2022, community members will also be invited to have a voice in selecting grant winners.
The annual program is open to public and private schools from pre-K to grade 12. Applications for 2022 will be accepted through June 30 and can
be submitted at grants. tangeroutlets.com. Recipients will be announced in August.

Reeds Spring Teacher Receives Skaggs Legacy Endowment

A Skaggs Legacy Endowment will help kids in Reeds Spring to practice healthy lifestyles. The Skaggs Foundation awarded nearly $4,500 to Reeds Spring Middle School teacher Shane Corporon. He plans to build a frisbee golf course behind the school.

“I just wanted a space for kids to be able to play,” said Corporon. “This course will not only provide students with an opportunity to learn and practice healthy habits but will also provide our community with a new and fun activity that is great for all ages.”

The Reeds Spring area is full of recreational activities on the water but lacks parks, playgrounds, and other recreational resources for the community. This project will help address that need.

Frisbee golf is similar to regular golf. Players throw a frisbee toward a metal basket and count the number of throws it takes to hit the target. Coach Corporon plans to design a nine-hole course.

“For us to make a small contribution is a big deal,” said Skaggs Foundation Board Member Nita Jayne Ayres. “Small grants are sometimes, I feel, the most impactful.”

This endowment grant was one of 30 that The Skaggs Foundation awarded to organizations in Stone and Taney Counties to support community initiatives that improve health and wellness.

Future of the Ozarks: Hollister High School Siblings Ranked No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the Senior Class

Four seniors from the same family will graduate together from Hollister High School in May.

If that is not remarkable enough, the Schultz siblings — Michael, 18, and triplets Allison, Brooklyn, and Samantha, 17 — are academically ranked No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the Class of 2022.

The four, born just eight months apart in 2003, are student leaders who have made their mark in different ways.

“As a group, they set an example for the other kids in the building because of that drive, because of that work ethic, because of that character,” said Principal Jared Terry. “No matter what they’re in, they’re in a leadership position.”

Terry said the siblings have a variety of interests and have found ways to stand apart.

“They’ve each found their own little niche but collectively they just bring so much to our student body,” he said. “They’re really kids that you can point (out) to freshmen and sophomores and say ‘Hey if you want to be successful, look at them and follow their lead.'”

All four are in the National Honor Society and have packed resumes based on involvement in a wide range of student groups. Here are the highlights:

Allison, the valedictorian, is the color guard captain in the marching band, which competed at high levels this year. She is on the student council and secretary of the Future Business Leaders of America.

“I’m in AP,” she said, of advanced placement courses. “My biggest accomplishment is AP. I pretty much pushed for an AP Calculus II class.”

She plans to study accounting or finance and was recently admitted to the University of Notre Dame. She was selected in the first round, one of 1,675 students picked from the 9,683 applicants.

Samantha ranked No. 2 in the class, is president of FBLA, dance coordinator for the student cabinet, and performed in show choir. She is part of the agronomy team, which went to nationals last year.

“That was a really big accomplishment,” she said. “This year we are hoping to go as far.” She plans to study interior design or plant science at the University of Arkansas.

Ranked No. 3 in class, Brooklyn is editor-in-chief of the yearbook and an accomplished photographer who has worked with the Branson Globe and Branson Tri-Lakes News.

“I’ve had a Facebook page called Brooklyn Schultz photography for three years now,” she said. She is frequently booked for shooting senior pictures, engagement photos, and local events.

She plans to study journalism and has been accepted to the University of Missouri. Her goal is to work internationally as a photojournalist.

Michael, the student body president, is ranked No. 4 in the class. He has played football as well as basketball and golf.

He was selected to attend Missouri Boys State and be part of the Missouri Leadership Seminar. The Academic All-State student-athlete wants to study law.

“I received my congressional nomination from Billy Long to get the chance to apply to the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the United States Military Academy,” he said this week. “I will find out if I get into either of them anywhere from January to April.”

‘Grandma prayed too hard’

The story of the family starts in Doniphan, nestled in the Ozark foothills in the southeast part of Missouri.

The parents, Stan and Kathy Schultz, already had son Patrick — currently a student at Benedictine College — when they welcomed Michael in April 2003.

Three months later, Kathy went to the hospital thinking she had a bad stomachache.

“She was like ‘Doctors I don’t know what is happening’ and then they had an ultrasound and they’re like ‘Well, actually you’re pregnant — and, wait, with triplets,'” Samantha said. “My grandma prayed for girls and they got girls.”

Brooklyn added: “We always say ‘My grandma prayed too hard.'”

Twins and triplets do not run in the family so the surprise was overwhelming at first. The pregnancy was difficult.

The triplets arrived on Dec. 21, three months early, but just in time for Christmas. Samantha was first, followed quickly by Allison. They each weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Brooklyn, at just 1 pound, 6 ounces, was last.

There were serious health complications. Allison and Samantha remained in the hospital until early February. Brooklyn did not get to go home until mid-March.

Of Brooklyn, Michael said: “Her middle name is Faith because she had a life-saving surgery on Christmas Eve.”

That night, in the hospital room, the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was playing.

“So, we watch it every year now,” Brooklyn said.

‘We want to do our own thing’

Despite having triplet girls and a son less than a year apart in age, the siblings said their parents raised them as individuals.

Each child has their own room. The triplets share a striking similarity but do not look or dress identically. With vastly different styles, they rarely share clothes.

They have sidestepped other multiple-birth clichés as well, like trying to fool teachers by swapping classes.

“We were so adamant when we were younger, and still now, that we want to do our own thing,” Samantha said. “We all have completely different interests.”

Their parents also insisted the children do their best, explore their talents and find ways to give back.

“They say all the time ‘We are not going to get mad at you for getting a slightly lower grade than you always get,” Samantha recalled. “But, we are going to get mad at you if you don’t try.”

Michael said his parents set high expectations with their example. “Our mom got all As from fourth grade through college and our dad is an engineer. Part of the drive is from them.”

The seniors were in fifth grade when the family moved to Hollister.

The parents relocated to the community based on academic and extracurricular options available in the school district.

“When we moved in, we were included in everything right off the bat,” said Michael. 

The four siblings believe their close relationship and competitiveness have helped them all excel academically.

“It’s like a game,” Samantha said.

Allison added: “We’re competitors. We’re pretty much just pushing each other all the time to be better because we don’t want to be the worst.”

Despite being the oldest, Michael was not as competitive at the start of high school.

“Freshman year, I was 26th in class,” he recalled. “On our first report card, they were all, like, I don’t know, top 5 or something.”

Allison added: “We made fun of him quite a bit.”

Michael interjected as the others laughed: “They absolutely ripped me to shreds, OK? I have not gotten anything other than an A+ since my freshman year.”

‘Cherish those conversations’

Over the years, the family has created many traditions but the most important may be at the dinner table.

“We all eat dinner together,” said Brooklyn, noting their grades are a frequent topic, especially when two or more siblings are in the same class.

All four of the siblings work part-time jobs in the area at places such as Silver Dollar City, Chick-fil-A, and Top of the Rock.

The siblings said dinner occurs when everybody is finally home from school or work —even if it’s not until 8 p.m.

“That is something my parent’s stress … Even if we’re mad at each other, we’re going to sit down and have a family meal together,” Samantha said.

“It has brought us so close and I will always cherish those conversations.”

With graduation just five months away, the reality of parting soon has hit each one of the siblings.

They have tough classes, leadership positions in extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs.

But they have been making time to get together this year. And they’ve been celebrating each other.

“Our whole lives we’ve been trying to be different from each other,” said Brooklyn. “Like he’s a history buff. We have an art person, we have a math person, an English person.”

During an interview with the News-Leader, the four took turns bragging on each other and pointing out accomplishments others forgot or were too modest, to mention.

The siblings said they realize the constant togetherness — and all the support and the motivation they’ve gained from it — will be gone, or at least different, next year.

In the fall, they’re planning to be on college or military campuses hundreds of miles apart. They are enjoying the time they have now.

“Us girls will go eat breakfast in the morning. We’ll have study sessions at the Landing (in Branson). We’ll have, like, random 2 a.m. talks in somebody’s room,” Samantha said. “That is what I am going to miss the most.”

Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. 

Branson Police Department Creates Model For Positive Change

Project funded by Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant

With funding from Skaggs Foundation in 2021, Branson Police Department launched a Regional Peer Support Team. The team is dedicated to helping Stone and Taney county first responders process personal issues and struggles associated with the traumatic events they respond to and manage through their careers.

“In its first year, the team has done incredible work getting the project up and going, which included a 3-day training seminar for 30 first local responders,” says Skaggs Foundation director of Community Relations Mindy Honey. “In just a matter of a few months, they are already making a huge impact. In year one, the peer support team was activated 17 times for individual and group crisis interventions, providing services to at least 46 first responders.” 

Now, the peer support team has been selected to lead a breakout session at the Missouri Crisis Intervention Training Conference in 2022. This gives the team an opportunity to share what they have learned through the process of creating the team which included bringing together numerous agencies that span two counties and multiple disciplines.

The hope is that the peer support team will become a model for positive change statewide in regards to mental health and first responders. 

“This is not a common model that is used, so by presenting at the conference we can hopefully encourage positive change statewide when it comes to mental health and first responders,” explains Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews.

Skaggs Foundation recently presented Branson Police Department with funding for the second year of the project. Funding for this project was made possible by Skaggs Foundation’s community grant-making program, Skaggs Legacy Endowment. Since 2013, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $7.1 million in Skaggs Legacy Endowment grants. To learn more about Skaggs Legacy Endowment, visit SkaggsFoundation.org.

To learn more about Branson Police Department, visit bransonmo.gov.

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Cutline: Skaggs Foundation Director of Community Relations Mindy Honey, center, and grants committee member Anne E McGregor, left, present a check to Branson Police Department and local first responders for the second year of a regional peer support team grant.

Five students attend Rotary Youth Leadership Award Academy

Five area students earned scholarships to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Academy from three area Rotary groups.

The academy is a three-and-a-half-day program focusing on Rotary’s “Service Above Self” philosophies, according to the academy website. Students participated in self-assessment personality programs, team building activities, and instruction and direction in service leadership from Rotary leaders.

“Going to RYLA was a life-changing experience, not only did it help grow my leadership skills, I also formed many valuable friendships along the way,” Abby Mulnik, a junior at Branson High School, told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “I am very grateful to the Branson Daybreakers Rotary Club for selecting me to be a part of the experience and helping contribute to my future in leadership.”

Mulnik and Caitlyn Matthews were sponsored by Branson Daybreakers Rotary, Israel Reynolds of Branson and Audrey Remenar of Cape Fair were sponsored by the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club, and Bertha Perez by the Hollister Rotary Club.

“Missouri RYLA was great, I met so new friends and was challenged beyond all expectations,” Matthews told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “It provided tools on how to be an effective leader and use my talents to bring people together for a common cause.  RYLA gave me tools to perform the best I can both on the Branson Band leadership team, in the classroom, and beyond.”

The RYLA Academy chooses students based on a desire to be a part of the program, their willingness to participate in all aspects of the program, and their commitment to serve upon returning to their home communities.

Bradleyville teacher nominated for national award

A Bradleyville teacher nominated for national honor by the Missouri State High School Activities Association. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Bradleyville School District posted on their Facebook page, “On the 2nd Tuesday of each month, school districts around our region are celebrating #Teacherproud and honoring the teachers of their school district. Today, we want to honor our very own Mrs. Chris Sprague.” 

According to the post, each year the National Federation of State High School Associations asks each state to nominate an individual who has made outstanding contributions to interscholastic music activities within each state. It has been announced that this year, the Missouri State High School Activities Association has nominated Sprague for this award.  

“Congratulations Mrs. Sprague!,” the post said. “We are definitely proud of you and thankful for you!” 

Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks opens a new club in Crane, Mo.

CRANE, Mo. (KY3) – The Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks is opening a southwest Missouri club in Crane. The club will be located at the Crane Elementary School.

The organization held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new location Thursday.

Tracey Howard, a parent, says it’s always been a struggle for parents to find a place for their kids to go after school. Now, students will be provided a safe space to learn and grow outside of the normal school hours.

“This is also going to be very good for them to have extra help with any kind of schoolwork or anything like that,” said Howard.

Stoney Hays, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks, says the Crane School District doesn’t have school on Monday. That leaves an extra day for families to find supervision for their children.

”Our young people go unserved on Mondays. A lot of times they are staying at home alone,” Hays said.

Hays says that can create many challenges for students.

”That becomes part of the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol and getting into other dangerous experiences that wouldn’t happen otherwise,” Hays said.

The Crane club is scheduled to open no later than January. It plans to serve 100 elementary-age students in the community.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.

To watch the video clip from KY3, click here

Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s donates 40,000 rods and reels to help kids across the US get outdoors

A nationwide movement to help get children and families connected to the outdoors is getting an added boost.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are donating more than 40,000 rods and reels to nonprofit organizations across the nation to kick off Gone Fishing, which begins June 12. 

Local nonprofit K.A.S.T., or Kids Are Special Too, will receive more than 400 rods and reels from the Springfield and Branson Bass Pro Shop location Thursday. K.A.S.T. recipients will also fish with local pro anglers.

Gone Fishing events are slated for June 12-13 and 19-20 for kids of all ages to catch their first fish in the catch-and-release ponds. Beginner guides, free seminars, crafts and more will be available.

“The effort is part of the company’s mission to inspire future generations to enjoy, love, and conserve the great outdoors,” according to a statement from Bass Pro Shops. “Since the program’s inception, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have donated 400,000 items to youth-focused nonprofit organizations across North America.”

Visit https://www.basspro.com/ for more details.

Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email her at skarnes@springfi.gannett.com.

Junior Auxiliary of Taney County Encourages Local Teens to Continue Their Learning by Awarding Seven Scholarships

Four deserving seniors were honored recently with college scholarships from the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC). JATC provided a $750 non-renewable scholarship to a graduating senior at each of the four Taney County high schools. This year’s recipients were: Madison Shipley, Bradleyville; Katelyn Patrick, Branson; Ashley Matthews, Forsyth; and Kyla McClintic, Hollister. The selection of these recipients was based primarily on volunteer service to their communities, above and beyond any school requirements, in addition to academic accomplishments and personal recommendations.

A fifth $750 Scholarcare renewable scholarship award available for up to four years was presented to a graduating senior who can benefit from the money as well as a little extra personal encouragement and care packages that JATC members provide monthly throughout the year. This year Kylie Calhoun, Forsyth was selected to receive this award based on personal essays and recommendations accompanying her application. We are also proud to announce that Kayli Nimmo and Bryce Reinke,
both of Branson, qualified to renew their $750 ScholarCare awards. Bryce commented “Thank you very much for blessing me this year! God knew that I definitely needed some extra encouragement to get me through my first year at College of the Ozarks. Thank you again so much for all of your support throughout the year! “

JATC is proud to be able to provide support and encouragement to these students as they pursue their education and move into adulthood. These Scholarships and Scholarcare Awards are just one of the many projects and services offered in Taney County by the members of JATC. More information about the organization and its projects is available on the website, JATCMO.org.

JATC projects also include Book Swap where JA members exchange books once a month at three different extended-stay motels to give children a chance to improve their reading skills; Tender Critters for children in trauma; Santa’s Gift House; Prom Dresses for girls in need; financial and labor support for the Crisis Center of Taney County including birthday parties and kid therapy so that moms may attend counseling sessions; Shoe Box Project filled with fun items such as Legos, Birdhouse kits, Sonic Sound magnets, Play-Doh, stickers, Silly Putty, coloring books and crayons, and delivered to Mark Twain and Bradleyville Elementary Schools for children in Pre-K through 4th Grade just in time for Spring Break to provide them with activities for Spring Break; and School Supplies “refreshment” in January for elementary schools in Eastern Taney County.

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. 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.

Our major fundraiser – a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment, and a Silent Auction – had to be canceled last year! THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE 20TH ANNUAL TRIVIA CHALLENGE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 AT THE CHATEAU ON THE LAKE. We hope all our supporters will SAVE THE DATE and join us there. Support for our organization turns into support for the children in our community. And, as you all know, community support became even more essential during the Pandemic. Special thanks for the donations we have received from corporate charitable giving (e.g., Amazon Smile, Benevity Funds, Walmart, and White River Electric), generous local businesses, and churches (e.g., Belk. Mr. G’s, 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, First Community Bank, Edward Jones – Mitch and Jennifer Holmes, Edward Jones – Mac McGregor, Target, 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 40 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”.

More information on JATC 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.