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Jaycees deliver sand to more than a dozen Bemidji area sandboxes

Held each year in early June, with play sand donated by Knife River Materials, Jaycees sign up to shovel and push wheelbarrows of sand at over a dozen locations in the Bemidji area.

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Bemidji Jaycees deliver sand to a Bemidji area sandbox on Saturday, June 4, 2022, during the annual Sandbox Fill event. Pictured in front: Project co-chair Crystal Hegg. In back, from left: Karli Grazman, Larissa Donovan, Kim Gruhn, Cody Gunsalus and Brad Fisher.
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BEMIDJI — Volunteers with the Bemidji Jaycees worked filling sandboxes and play areas during the 20th Annual Sandbox Fill event on Tuesday.

Held each year in early June, with play sand donated by Knife River Materials, Jaycees sign up to shovel and push wheelbarrows of sand at over a dozen locations in the Bemidji area, including several daycares, a release said.

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Bemidji Jaycees Larissa Donovan, left, and Kim Gruhn help to unload sand on Saturday, June 4, 2022, during the annual Sandbox Fill event.
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Held each year in early June, with play sand donated by Knife River Materials, Jaycees sign up to shovel and push wheelbarrows of sand at over a dozen locations in the Bemidji area, including several daycares, a release said.

Alumni member Crystal Hegg, who co-chaired the project, joked that “she’d give up her left tailpipe for the kids."

"I’ve always really liked how community-focused the Jaycees are, looking for areas of need and creating projects to help fill those needs,” Hegg said, who has been active with the Jaycees since 2005.

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This was the first project for fellow co-chairs Kim Gruhn and Karli Grazman, both new members within the last year.

“It may not seem like a big deal, moving sand, but it is through explorative play that kids learn and grow,” Grazman said.

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Bemidji Jaycees volunteers leave their mark after delivering sand on Saturday, June 4, 2022, during the annual Sandbox Fill event.
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“In the summer when there’s no school, kids are free to do some really out-of-the-box thinking to entertain themselves and discover new things,” she added. “No kid should be robbed of that opportunity just because the adults in their life can’t get access to sand, due to time or resource constraints.”

The Sandbox Fill program allows community members within a certain radius of Bemidji to order sand by the wheelbarrow load, all delivered for a small fee.

“I like that I can be a part of something bigger than myself by giving back to the community with like-minded people,” Gruhn said of her experiences so far with the Bemidji Jaycees. "It’s back-breaking work, but it’s worth it for the kids.”

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