The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 28, 2013

Beasley: Volunteering for the youth

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Bruce Beasley has spent more than 30 years working for recreation departments in Iowa communities. Now retired, he continues to help plan children’s programming at the Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center.

“There’s a lot of enjoyment in watching people play,” Bruce said.

Until almost two years ago, Bruce worked for the city recreation department for more than 18 years. During that time, he was involved in youth and special events. Three years ago, he joined the Discovery Center board.

“I guess I’m kind of a big believer of the old Hubert Humphrey motto of providing for the very young, the very old and people with special needs,” Bruce said.

The Discovery Center on Tuesday will provide area families with a place to spend New Year’s Eve with the second Family New Year’s Eve Party. Discovery Center Executive Director Sarah Lind said Bruce was the mastermind behind the event.

“The party is my inspiration and other people’s perspiration,” Bruce said.

While working in the recreation department in Manning in the late 1980s, Bruce helped plan a family New Year’s Eve party. He said he wanted to hold one in Clinton with the recreation department, but was unable to.

“We just didn’t have the network of volunteers that you need,” Bruce said.

Tuesday’s party will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will feature a variety of food and refreshments, as well as games, crafts, face painting and other activities. Clowns will attend, offering balloon animals.

This year, the event will include a music and dance activity, provided by dancers from the Carousel School of Dance. Between 4 and 6 p.m., dancers will offer lessons on the hokey pokey, chicken dance, cha-cha, salsa and more.

“It’s going to be a non-stop dance party,” Lind said.

The games will offer Discovery Center cash as prizes. One of the event’s sponsors, Clinton National Bank, will operate a bank area where children can cash in their money for prizes.

Bruce hopes to see a lot of families attending the party. He said the turnout last year was pretty good, bringing people from many of the local communities and from Illinois.

“You’re always looking for family things to do,” Bruce said. “We really reach out to the entire Gateway area.”