River Bend Trail’s 10th Anniversary Celebration a success
TINA L. SCOTT
The 10th Anniversary Celebration of the River Bend Trail on Oct. 13 was described as “a beautiful Wednesday evening” with “an amazing turnout with over 350 people in attendance and nearly $900 was raised by the students for the trail” according to attendees.
The event, which was a coordinated effort between the Friends of the River Bend Trail group and Board and the Merrill High School (MHS) DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) group, provided students with real world experience. DECA is an association of marketing students that encourages the development of business and leadership skills.
Elizabeth Schmidt, MHS business student and DECA President, planned and organized the event, organized volunteers and raffles, created press releases, developed advertising, got donations, purchased needed items, and focused on all necessary tasks to make this a successful event. DECA Vice President, Cal Hoepper, and fellow member Kaden Schawdt helped setup and host.
In addition, MHS Intro to Business students created and sold class-designed merchandise, ranging from stickers to drawstring bags to can huggers. This provided students opportunities to sell, manage money, determine profits, provide customer service, and more. Live music by Mark Robl and complimentary hot dog plates were enjoyed by attendees of all ages.
In addition, other business students, including Anna Schlegel, Kiera Boyd, Janna Jacobson, Chase Cortright, and Jack Hoock, created and recorded radio ads played on WJMT to draw families, trail enthusiasts, and attendees to the event from all across northcentral Wisconsin.
This collaboration between the students and the trail left students with a new insight and appreciation for the trail and business.
Raffles helped raise a large portion of the funds raised. Participants want to thank all their sponsors, including Culver’s, Peterson Sand and Gravel, Golden Harvest, Park and Rec, Merrill High School Wood Classes, Hugo’s, Merrill Cosmo, Sunset Hollow Ranch, Johnson’s, Main Street Apothecary, Be Well Yoga, Merrill Police Association, and Tammy and Mike Saal.
Over the course of the last 10 years, the River Bend Trail grew from an idea to a trail reaching from Walmart on Merrill’s east side all the way to Council Grounds State Park to the north of the City. And all of that progress was made possible by generous donors and a supportive community.
But the progress isn’t likely to end there. There is talk of continuing to grow the River Bend Trail toward both Wausau and Tomahawk in the future.