Strengthening the community through family

A coalition of community groups are joining forces to offer a night out for families.

Tomorrow’s Central Kitsap Family Night is free and families large and small are encouraged to attend the first-ever event. Hosted at the Kitsap County Fairground’s Presidents’ Hall, doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the program from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Not only is the night a way for families to come together and share in some fun, but money raised from food sales will benefit the Central Kitsap Parent Teacher Student Association Council (CKPTSA).

“We’re going to decide in May on how to spend the money raised,” said Monika Scotti, CKPTSA president.

Because the event is a first, she is unsure of the amount of money that will be raised but is hoping it is in the neighborhood of $1,500.

Family activities include bingo with prizes in the form of books, lots of door prizes, reading groups, and resource and information tables. The night’s entertainment will be provided by singing groups from local schools as well as performances by the Filipino Ancestry International Dancers.

“We hope (family night) is a foundational step in building a stronger community in Central Kitsap,” said Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) member Naomi Pursel who also is an organizer of the event. “Everyone put their hearts in it. We’re doing everything to make this a fun evening.”

The CKCC is just one of many community sponsors and instead of hosting its usual biannual town meeting, the council opted to change things up a bit.

“It’s not a CKCC event, per se, it’s a community coalition,” Pursel said. “We decided since it’s so hard to pique people’s interest we thought we would start at a more basic step and go back to community building. A saying with the coalition is, ‘Strong families build strong communities.’”

The group decided on bingo, she added, because past experiences have proven it brings kids and their parents together.

“They seem to have a lot of fun,” she said.

In keeping local community at the forefront, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chief Ken Burdette and Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer will be in charge of announcing the bingo numbers; Kitsap Mall Senior Manager Dan Engelhard will be the emcee for the night; and CK commissioner Patty Lent and Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Greg Lynch are both scheduled to speak at the beginning of the event.

“Everyone jumped on the bandwagon,” Pursel said.

Also at the event will be Central Kitsap High School drama students who will be reading and performing stories for kids.

“We’re going to have reading as a centerpiece,” said Mary Ellen de la Peña of Kitsap County Department of Personnel and Human Services, another organizer of Family Night. “The Kitsap Regional Library will have an area where people can sit and read, check out books and get library cards.”

All those involved are hoping for a successful evening which will draw a large number of families.

“It’s going to be a real fun, high energy event, we’d love to have lots of people,” de la Peña said.

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