There’s lots to do if people show up

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“There is nothing to do in Barnwell County.”

“Our children need positive outlets to be involved with.”

We have heard these statements – or at least ones very similar – from numerous people over the years.

While our small, rural community lacks some of the amenities and resources that are abundant in larger areas, some recent opportunities show there might be more to the issue.

The problem is a lot of times people simply do not support the initiatives and events Barnwell County does have to offer.

Darene Thomas, a Blackville-Hilda High School graduate, returned home on Saturday to put on a basketball clinic for youth. A former college and pro star, she now operates Fundamental Basketball Academy in an effort to teach sportsmanship, teamwork and positive work ethics to young players.

She is used to 35 to 50 youth at a time, but only had a few. However, the ones who were there had a blast and got extra attention from Coach Dee.

A similar scenario played out across the county in Williston at the Barnwell County Teen Summit.

The Axis 1 Center of Barnwell along with several community organizations that work directly with youth joined together to sponsor the summit for teens ages 12 to 18. They reserved the entire auditorium at the Williston District 29 office building and lined up fantastic and knowledgeable speakers, but only 36 youth and 16 parents showed up.

Just as in Blackville, organizers expressed disappointment that more people were not there. However, it was a beneficial event for the ones who did attend. NFL player and Williston native Rafael Bush was one of the featured speakers.

Organizers wondered what it would take to get people to come, especially after advertising through various outlets and having a well-known Williston native as a speaker.

Trying to pinpoint how to boost attendance of events isn’t a simple answer because there are various factors: busy schedules, not knowing about events, lack of motivation, lack of transportation, etc.

However, we encourage residents to support the opportunities that are given to them, if at all possible. Check our community calendar! There are a lot of local events in the near future.

We hope to see you there!