Every year, Bonney Lake and Sumner come together to talk about important issues affecting the community. The was held on St. Patrick’s Day, Thurs., March 17 at Calvary Community Church.
“This is where legislation happens,” said Bonney Lake deputy mayor Dan Swatman at the event dinner. “You being here is a testament to your dedication to our schools and community.”
At the pre-summit event, local youth gathered together to learn about being a true servant leader. John Norlin from the facilitated the conversation and encouraged the students to reach out and do small things to build each other up. He also told them to take life seriously, but to have fun and laugh while doing so.
“Servant leadership is not about acting like a child, or being a child. It’s about being ‘child-like,’” said Norlin. “One of my goals as a leader is to bring more smiles out in the lives around me, and that should be your goal, too.”
At the Summit, attendees chose a breakout discussion topic, listened to local leaders and helped create dialogue and creative solutions.
Topics discussed included the local economy, public transportation, teen drug use, cyber bullying, new health statistics and finding fun things for youth to do outside of school.
At the breakout session regarding the economy, attendees cited child health care, the availability of local resources and job creation as major issues affecting people from getting the resources they need.
Perceptions of teen drug use are different from the amount of actual drug use, said group representatives. As kids get older, they don’t see the harm in marijuana use, but understand the risks of cigarettes. Students are abusing pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana more than any other, but marijuana twice as much as perscription drugs. If no damage is visible, there is no perception of its harm, the group concurred. Students also admitted that some parents allow kids to use drugs and alcohol at home under their supervision. The group suggested a community task force to help communicate across youth and adult lines.
A task force or prevention team was also suggested to counteract cyber bullying. Students wanted more opportunities to discuss the impacts of bullying, online and off, during school. Representatives also felt that it was important for students to recognize online actions, posts and photos as permanent.
Kids have a hard time finding things to do after school, and the group that talked on the subject, ‘Mom, I’m bored!’ determined that more neighborhood activities were needed to help keep kids occupied. The area is at a loss for activities for homeschooled kids and middle schoolers, said the group. They suggested that a list exist somewhere online or made available at the schools that showed different, fun ideas for kids to do outside school hours.
Bonney Lake City Administrator Don Morrison presented the findings on the Pierce Transit group. Residents need better connections between routes and the is deeply affecting the Bonney Lake and Sumner communities, he said. Morrison encouraged all in attendance to make their concerns heard at the upcoming Pierce Transit public meetings.
After the breakout group presentations, the were presented to outstanding local people making a difference in the community, and attendees listened to the keynote speaker, Dan Comsia, a local non-profit director and human rights advocate who talked about the importance and value of volunteering and serving the community to make a difference. The over 300 people who attended feasted on a free dinner of chicken, beef, Ceaser salad and potatoes.
The 18th Annual Bonney Lake-Sumner Community Summit was sponsored by the Sumner/Bonney Lake Area Communities for Families Coalition in conjunction with the Sumner School District’s STARR Project.
Contact Marilee Hill-Anderson at the STARR Project for information on any of the topics mentioned here, (253) 891-6066 or email@example.com. The Coalition for Families (CFF) meets the first Thursday of each month, 3:00 p.m, Sumner School District Central Office Board Room, 1202 Wood Avenue, Sumner, WA 98390.