Parks After Dark concert to raise money for summer camp scholarships

Since taking office as a Sedgwick County commissioner Jan. 1, musician Lacey Cruse has been limiting her gig performances. But she makes time for benefit shows like the upcoming Parks After Dark concert Friday, Sept. 27, at Wave.

Cruse will be the opening act for the local band Crosstown Traffic at the concert being put on by the Wichita Parks Foundation to raise money to send kids to a local summer camp program. Crosstown Traffic, formed in 2012, features six longtime musicians and vocalists with a playlist that includes classic rock and other covers by Santana, Chicago, Adele, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones and more. (You can listen to samples on the band’s website, crosstowntrafficbandict.com.)

“I love the parks in our community and I love the program they are putting on,” said Cruse, referring to the Summer of Discovery camp program offered through the Wichita Park and Recreation Department. “I have kids so I think programs like this are important to offer.”

In fact, one of Cruse’s two children has attended the summer camp.

Money raised from the concert will help parents afford the 10-week Summer of Discovery camp for kids ages 6 to 12, according to Brent Thomas, chair of the nonprofit Wichita Parks Foundation. The organization helps support various activities, such as the summer camp program, renovations to the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Riverside Park and the annual Red, White and Boom July 4th celebration in downtown Wichita.

Summer of Discovery camp, which this past summer was held at the Orchard, Linwood and Edgemoor Recreation Centers, features themed weeks, field trips, sports, swimming and other activities. This past summer, the weekly cost was $115. Kids can be enrolled for the entire 10 weeks or select weeks.

“Typically, we award scholarships to cover 50% of program costs for the first child and go up to 100% aid for three or more children in a family,” Thomas said. “In 2017 and 2018, we awarded a total of nearly $18,000 in aid to about 30 children. Our goal would be to raise $5,000 to $8,000 this year.”

The Wichita Parks Foundation didn’t award any scholarships this past summer, he said, because it was focused on getting its license plate fundraising program off the ground. With the Plates for Park program, Kansans can buy a custom license plate featuring the Wichita flag and the $50 annual royalty fee goes to the WPF. The foundation has raised $20,000 so far through that program.

Parks After Dark is a new fundraiser, and the foundation is working on other events that will highlight Wichita’s parks, Thomas said. The foundation chose to hold the concert at Wave since it wanted a “turnkey food setup.”

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or at the door.

Parks After Dark concert

What: A benefit concert by the Wichita Parks Foundation for Summer of Discovery camp scholarships

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27

Where: Wave, 650 E. 2nd St., Wichita

Cost: $25 online or at the door.

More information: wichitaparksfoundation.org or facebook.com/events/750938385336686/