By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN In a very short time, the name WHAT UP (Winsted Holding Activities That Unite People) has become well-known in Winsted households, and synonymous with family fun-time.
It was only a year ago that WHAT UP was established as a youth and family council, which is an official volunteer committee of the City of Winsted.
Its mission has been promoting monthly family entertainment for Winsted residents at no charge, giving them social opportunities to spend time as a family while getting to know other members of the community, as well.
Because of the outstanding work the committee has done, it was presented the 2009 Don C. Guggemos award for community service in December. The award was given to the committee by Mayor Steve Stotko, on behalf of the city, acknowledging the great job WHAT UP has done, especially as a first-year organization, according to Stotko.
The activities provided by the WHAT UP committee have been nonstop. The attendance at the events is an indicator to the committee they are choosing the right kinds of activities for the community to enjoy.
Just a few of the fun activities WHAT UP offered last year were movies in the park, basketball lessons, board game night at city hall, kickball, pumpkin painting, and a winter sledding and snowman contest.
WHAT UP is continuing the momentum with a tentative 2010 schedule of free family activities for the summer, and it has planned its first movie in the park night of the year at Winsted’s Mill Reserve Park this Friday, May 14.
As with any new committee trying to become established, WHAT UP is working through a few difficulties as it tries to achieve its independence.
Additional help is always needed, according to Jeff Campbell, WHAT UP committee member. Also, new ideas or suggestions for improvement are appreciated.
Surround sound equipment and a large movie screen are two items the committee would like to own and have available to present movies in the park.
The surround sound equipment, currently being used, has been borrowed from a private party, which means asking permission for its use and arranging to transport it to the site. The movie screen is made up of plywood and a bedsheet. A better screen would improve viewing, and make setup easier.
Another difficulty the committee is working through is the additional expense of having to show licensed films for movies in the park, something the committee was not aware of when it first started.
Because the movies presented by WHAT UP are shown outside of the home, they are considered a public performance. Without a licensed film, it is considered copyright infringement.
The cost for each movie is $350, and there are other stipulations that WHAT UP has to follow like being unable to advertise the movie title. To offset the expense, Campbell is offering sponsorships for each film shown. Sponsors would get marketing privileges for the evening.
“The sponsorship is a good opportunity for local businesses to present themselves to an audience of 150 or more people,” Campbell said. “A great time to meet potential clients and give samples of products.”
For the movie this Friday, City Administrator Brent Mareck has offered to personally pay half of the cost of the movie, and the Winsted Chamber is going to pay for the other half.
Anyone who would like to help the WHAT UP committee in any of these areas can contact Campbell at (612) 554-7439 or e-mail jcampbell@IBRrealty.com.
WHAT UP began with Blandin Foundation
WHAT UP was one of four Blandin leadership teams to return to Winsted in 2008, following a week-long community leadership program, to try to find ways to enhance community life. The WHAT UP team’s goal was to find ways to provide new possibilities for youth and family involvement in Winsted.
“Our group felt the need for more community activities that would help us get to know each other and bring families together,” Campbell said.
The first event planned by the group was an outdoor movie presented at the amphitheater at Mill Reserve Park in July 2009.
Showing a movie was the committee’s first choice because of a survey it had done earlier which had asked students at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted public school, Holy Trinity School, and their parents what kind of activities they would like to see.
Movie in the park was rated the highest. Music in the park, tournaments in kick ball, video games, and bean bags were also suggestions made.
The committee members really had no idea what kind of response they would get the evening they showed the movie “Horton Hears a Who.”
More than 150 people attended the evening movie. The numbers had exceeded the committee’s expectations, and provided the encouragement needed for many more family activities.
2010 WHAT UP activities in Winsted
Tenative schedule for summer and fall
A free movie in the park night is scheduled at Mill Reserve Park’s amphitheater every month throughout the summer beginning in May. Movies begin at dusk. All children must be accompanied by an adult. In the event of rain, the movie will be shown the following night. Movie night dates set are:
• Friday, June 18, • Friday, July 16, • Friday, Aug. 20
Other activities planned by WHAT UP are:
• Saturday, Aug. 7 Possible addition to Winsted Summer Festival events
• Friday, Sept. 17 Kickball at Weinbeck field
• Saturday, Oct. 30 Halloween fun night
* Basketball lessons coached by Rose Heimerl will be offered beginning Saturday, June 19. More details to follow.
WHAT UP Commitee Members
• Jeff Campbell
• Allison Christensen
• Ana Dietrich
• Terry Fasching
* Leigha Felder
• Mike Henrich
• Rose Heimerl
• Erin Kutz
• Brett Monson
• Stephanie Wegner