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On The Bricks Archives

Melyn Johnson

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July 11, 2019

Lately the definition of success has been a topic of several conversations for me. It’s interesting. And then I read this, written by Coach Keith, an assistant coach in the OPSU baseball program who recently resigned. Coach Keith is the one that made Main Street Guymon’s Special Game Day happen.

What Coach Keith wrote says what I believe so well. I think he wrote it to other OPSU staff.

“I’ve worked here for 6 years. And seeing this university grow has been exciting. But seeing young boys turn into men by making mature decisions, on and off the baseball field, has been the most rewarding goal in my young life. Having a young man from half a world away, tell me ‘thank you for everything’ and having his family embrace me as one of their own trumps any amount of money an individual could get paid.

“We often think of happiness and wealth as money or success. But to be a positive influence in a human being life is worth more than its weight in gold.

“Helping a young man pass a test when 5 months ago he could barely speak English, is a reward.

“Allowing a young man, the opportunity to play college baseball at a competitive level, is a reward.

“Having a young man be the first to graduate college in his entire family, is a reward.

“Coaches, parents and mentors: do not take for granted the impact you make on a young person’s life, and do not overlook the impact they make in yours.

Players: play for a coach who you make you a better person, father, brother, sister, mother, aunt or uncle. Because you are as rewarding in a coach’s life as he/she is to your own.”

There are many teachers, youth leaders, coaches, and others who have figured this out. I know many of them, I’m related to several of them, and I have Main Street Aggie Families who live by this. Those kids that enrich our lives aren’t related to us by blood, they’re probably not known to us until we start to work with them. But they give us the true richness our souls are made to crave.

Thank you to every Coach Keith in this world. You make this world a better place.

Good luck to Coach Keith in his future endeavors.

See you on the bricks.

July 10, 2019

It’s fun to read good things about our community, our state, our country. And sometimes it’s even more fun to share them. So how about sharing some great Oklahoma trivia for a bit?

The design chosen for the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which is set to open on Veteran’s Day 2020 in Washington DC, is Warriors’ Circle of Honor. The artist who designed the memorial, Harvey Pratt, was born in El Reno Okla., and is part of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. He joined the Marine Corps as a young man, where he served in Vietnam. Then as a civilian he served in law enforcement, first with the Midwest City Police Department and later with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Along the way, Pratt discovered he had a knack for turning witness descriptions into suspect sketches. He extended into other forms of forensic identification as well, and his career includes a long list of high – profile cases, including serial killer Ted Bundy and the Murrah building bombing. He retired from the OSBI in 2017.

Just reading about this Okie, whom I’ve never met, makes me feel proud.

The Lion King is being redone in live – action format by Disney and is supposed to come out on July 19. It features Tulsa native Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, mother of Simba. Woodard is an exceptional actress that Wikipedia says, “Alfre Woodard; (born November 8, 1952) is an American actress, producer, and political activist. Woodard has been named one of the most versatile and accomplished actors of her generation.[1] She has been nominated once for an Academy Award and Grammy Award and 18 times for an Emmy Award (winning four) and has also won a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.” Impressive.

Those two Okies have made a mark on a national scale. But we have impressive people who have made a mark here in our own community that deserve some recognition too.

Recently an obituary ran in the Guymon Daily Herald for Dorothy Lois Williams. My world stopped for a moment as I read the obit. My mind went back years ago when Dorothy Williams made such a strong impression on me. I placed foreign exchange students for over 30 years and met some of the greatest kids on earth, learned about and visited places that I should have only been able to read about, and met the nicest families in the Panhandle area, families that were unselfish and caring and interesting. All were interesting.

Dorothy Williams was one of those. But she stands out amongst the hundreds of families I met. When I called Dorothy, she was the principal at Yarbrough School. She said she and her husband would be happy to host two boys, but if I was willing to come to Yarbrough, she would bring together several good families that might be willing to host. Which she did.

We placed 5 students in Yarbrough that year, I believe. And the kids loved their year on the Oklahoma plains. But, even more interesting, Dorothy knew that the state would be counting the number of students and she was always working to make sure the Yarbrough School was not closed.

Dorothy was smart. Dorothy cared. Dorothy did more than just talk about it.

That wasn’t the only year that Dorothy or her employees or family members hosted. And every year. I suspect Dorothy Williams legacy will live long past her years on this earth.

May each of us do something with such love during our time.

On July 17 the Chamber of Commerce is having a Summer Celebration in conjunction with Channel 10 News out of Amarillo. It takes place at Thompson Park from 4:30 – 7 pm. Stay tuned to find out more of what will be happening and meeting the News Crews!

Texas County Children’s Health Fair is on July 18, 4 – 7 pm at the Texas County Activity Center.

The City of Guymon is hosting a summer movie in the area by the YMCA and the Guymon Library on July 19. The movie starts at dusk, but there are other fun things happening before the movie. Check their facebook page to see more. It’s a Luau that evening with the movie being “Moana.”

Go have fun with family and friends.

See you on the bricks!

July 5, 2019

My recent road trip, the route was figured out online with the motels considered via google and then reservations made online. When in any of the towns, google was checked once again for local restaurants and their ratings were given careful consideration. When I was in the motel by myself and didn’t want to get out after one day, I even googled “restaurants with delivery, (town name and state)”. And then I hit the “call” button and ordered.

No place to stay or eat was given any consideration because it wasn’t on google.

Once we arrived in Myrtle Beach, the same method was used to find things to do like go to the Aquarium.

Then I get home and go to work, my mom brings a friend over who is visiting from Maryland. Yes, they did almost the same road trip and they looked on their cell phone to decide where they would stop.

My serious question to our local merchants is this: While these friends were here, if they were to look up on the phone great places to visit, to stay, to shop, or to eat … would your business come up? Would our favorite restaurants have reviews? We can all leave reviews.

This is an issue that Taos McIntyre as a transformer during his high school years had as a project. He looked up businesses (first were the Main Street ones that are more apt to draw someone traveling off the highway) and offered to help them get their information updated on Google. He would bring his laptop in to the store and he didn’t charge anything.

And said people said, “No, thank you.”

You don’t have to be computer savvy to update Google. Especially if Taos is helping you. Why would you not take the 30 to 45 minutes to possibly bring new customers in?

It’s a puzzlement to me.

And then I recall the various things that my kids want me to do with my phone, my banking, etc., and I just nod and smile and never plan on doing it. And it probably would be easier. And it probably would save time. And yet I don’t do it.

So, that just happens, I guess.

What else is happening?

On July 15 during the lunch hour the OSU Extension is holding a class on “Eating Healthy on a Budget.” Call 338-7300 to reserve a spot.

The Texas County Children’s Health Fair is happening on July 18 from 4-7 pm at the Activity Center.

The City sponsored summer movie at Cross Park happens when the sun goes down on July 19 behind the YMCA.

And on July 22 is another OSU Extension class, this one on “Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off.” This one is also held during the lunch hour.

Hope your Fourth of July was wonderful and it’s my hope that you were able to watch the beautiful City Firework display. How fun was that?

See you on the bricks!

July 1, 2019

June was wonderful. A two – week vacation got me relaxed, had time to visit with some old friends and some family, and then as I drove those last miles home feeling thankful to be back. Then on Monday morning I woke up wanting to come to work and be productive. June made July looks so good … and so fun.

During the two weeks I drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That’s a long way. Lots of road time to listen to my music and sing to it when I wanted, and time to have quiet when I wanted to rest my mind. The first day I drove across Oklahoma. The second day I drove across Arkansas. The third day I drove across Tennessee, which I had been looking forward to because I’ve never explored Tennessee.

That whole exploring Tennessee still wasn’t marked off my bucket list when I crossed the state line into North Carolina. Interstate 40 is not conducive to exploring. And there’s no looking at the scenery because there are so many blamed trees that you can’t see the scenery. But I had a drive back to remedy this poor performance, so just mark it up to experience rather than adventure.

Going through North Carolina and arriving in South Carolina, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my best friends 60th birthday with her. We’ve been best friends (there are four of us) since first grade and all of us attended Panhandle State together. Having some time with Nancy was worth every single mile.

The next day after a few more hours on the road, I picked up my daughter Lisa and her friend Lisa (we call her GoGo) in Charleston. There we had our first meal of the anticipated seafood diet at a wonderful restaurant in the middle of downtown Charleston. And we stayed in a boutique inn there a few blocks away. Oh, my, it was fabulous. Our room was two – story and had two bathrooms and three TVs. I could go on, but just say it was a good call to stay there.

Then we drove to Myrtle Beach, SC, where we watched son – in – law Keith’s last baseball game and they won big time. The coast had cooled down because it was cloud covered and the humidity was unbelievable. GoGo and Lisa went to the beach and I stayed in the hotel enjoying my quiet time. And then we enjoyed all three days there.

After dropping Keith and the Lisa’s off at the Charleston airport, my road trip west began. This time I traveled the smaller roads and I seemed to weave from South Carolina into Tennessee and Mississippi and back and forth between the last two. I might have even been in Alabama for a moment, or not far from it. My roads were slow and gorgeous. I drove through where the Civil War Battle of Shiloh took place and through the Appalachian Mountains. At one point there was a mower going in front of my lane of traffic and since we couldn’t pass, it was at times stand still on the road. Nobody seemed to be nervous or cranky. We could see a beautiful and big river flowing below over the rocks and we were in the shade of the mountain. So, I rolled down my window and had that cool breeze and listened to the river. It was a highlight.

Eventually I arrived in Chattanooga and then on into Fayetteville, fulfilling my Tennessee adventure. In Memphis, the evening was great because I had supper with another old friend. It wasn’t his birthday, but we celebrated anyway. Lots of laughing and another highlight in Tennessee.

Soon I was traveling across Arkansas again and into Oklahoma, where the trees thinned out and the are thinned out. I could see better and breathe better. My heart (and lungs) were happy when I finally got home on Friday night.

Saturday was great because I could get the car cleaned out, the laundry done, sleep in my own bed. And on Sunday at church and for lunch was with Mama, supper with my daughter Missy and her family. Still need to catch up with work, with Papa, and with Justin … but there is time.

They’re all doing well, and life is good.

Hoping that your June was filled with highlights, too.

Now it’s time to make some Main Street Guymon highlights … like the Farmers Market on Saturday! I love the Farmers Market!

See you on the bricks!

Survey – Part 5

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and social media in March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the last article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

It is obvious from the recent online survey of Main Street Guymon programs that the board, director, and volunteers need to work better at getting the word out about opportunities offered to the membership and public.

Currently, Main Street Guymon posts community events and Main Street programs on their Facebook page that has 4,800 likes and 10,000 to 25,000 post reaches each month.

“But there is a fine line in over – posting and causing people to hide your posts,” says Main Street Guymon Director Melyn Johnson. “And so, in the interest of not losing followers, we try to not post the same thing over and over and we might miss some who don’t see Facebook as often. We also post community events coming up that are not part of Main Street Guymon because our followers want to know more than just the Main Street events.”

The “On the Bricks” personal column has been written by Johnson since 2010 and usually includes a run down of community events that are coming up. The column runs weekly in the Guymon Daily Herald and is posted on the web at www.MainStreetGuymon.com. The column had a 77% positive rating in the survey and 19% who were not aware of the column. One comment that probably fell in the 4% that don’t find the column to be a positive for Main Street Guymon said, “Many find the ‘On the Bricks’ offensive or as if they are being lectured.”

Another said in the comments, “Do enjoy the newspaper column with the thought – provoking stories.”

PTCI films an “On the Bricks with Melyn” show that shares upcoming events, information from classes that have been offered, or a visit into some of the Main Street member businesses. These are available on YouTube and are shared on the website and on social media.

Johnson also appears on KGYN radio Monday mornings at 7:30 to talk about upcoming events and Main Street programs.

“We do what we can with only one full – time person and volunteers on a limited budget,” says Johnson, “but I wish we did a better job of getting our message out. It is something that takes a lot of time but is necessary.”

The only Main Street Guymon program that received a low approval rating was the Archaeologist Lecture in October, with brought home a 36% like and a high 32% that didn’t know about it.

“This is a program that has a smaller interest group,” says Johnson, “sort of a niche market and we held it each year because there was no cost to us, and it was a part of our Main Street Month and part of Oklahoma Archaeological Month. But with the low rating and the fact that it takes place off Main Street (at the public library), we’re going to take it off our annual schedule of events. I have contacted the library to see if they’re interested in continuing the program through the library.”

Of interest are some of the comments at the end of the survey. Because of comments about people not knowing about the programs, we are going to work to post on our website each program, a short description, and how to get involved.

One person said, “A listing of all committees needs to be spread widely to inform people with what all they can choose to volunteer in. I think many more people what to be involved, they just don’t know how or when they can step in to participate!”

Taking this beyond just the Main Street Guymon programs, we are currently working on a community list of places where a person can volunteer and who to contact to find out about helping. This will eventually end up on the Main Street Guymon website under “Volunteering.”

“Doing things like this sounds easy,” says Johnson, “but it takes a lot of hours to gather the information and get it set up. Then doing the updates is a chore, but I think it is needed and we are going to do our best to provide the information. For a long time, people have been coming into the office and finding out ways to help in the community and this is just a step further to make it official. What I know is that we want our community to have these programs, whether it is Pioneer Days (through the Chamber of Commerce) or Panhandle Partners (who help families battling cancer) or Iron Thunder (whose brings us the Five State Motorcycle Run with all proceeds going back to help people in the community) or the Ultra Runners (Livin’ Green and other runs who promote a healthier lifestyle), or Scouts or 4-H because they make a better community.

And so, we will work to help all these programs find people interested in working as a volunteer with them … including the Main Street Guymon programs and partnerships.

One of the best Main Street Guymon partnerships is with the Shutterbugs, a group that started through Main Street Guymon about eight years ago after Chris Urias taught a short workshop for amateur photographers. The photographers wanted to continue meeting, so they met at the Main Street Guymon office, and they have done many helpful things in the community since, carrying out the volunteer service mind that Main Street Guymon has. They have volunteered to take photos for community events and have meetings and lessons on learning about their cameras and shooting photographs. It has been a very positive group in Guymon.

“They no longer need our help from the Main Street Guymon office,” says Johnson, “but they continue to increase their prominence in the community through their volunteer work and we are proud of what all they’ve done.”

One survey comment read, “I would like to see a food program where community members could donate canned goods and other non – perishable items year – round, but also include an annual program where sportsmen and women could donate venison and other game meat to families in need.”

“Loaves and Fishes has been our local food pantry in Guymon, a 501c3 organization, since 1990,” says Johnson. “They do a fantastic job. In fact, they served 55,584 individual visits in 2018. Yet, I don’t know that they had ever considered taking game from hunters and I am anxious to share that idea with Loaves and Fishes Director Gail Parsley.”

Another wrote, “(The) City of Guymon needs to perform more and better repairs of Main Street, including the curbs. Thanks.” Often people forget that most of Guymon’s Main Street is also a state highway and so it can be a state highway issue or a City issue or them working together.

The City does have a beautification project, a streetscape, for the downtown blocks under consideration now and they hope the community will follow that work and give their thoughts into that when the public meetings come up soon.

Another comment at the end of the survey, said, “I think we need an annual fundraiser for the senior home to give more to our very bored seniors. They deserve more than can be afforded.”

Heritage Community staff work to have activities at the assisted living and nursing home. “They also have volunteers who can help make these ideas happen and I encourage whomever wrote this to join them and work to add more,” said Johnson.

The comment also said, “The high school needs dance Fridays at $3 a child as a school fund raiser.”

“Once again, Main Street Guymon doesn’t do school fund raisers, but I’m more than willing to share this idea with some of the teachers that are part of our Main Street volunteers. And they probably would enjoy having help with school fund raisers.”

Many of the comments were positive and showed appreciation for the Main Street Guymon volunteers and programs. “You guys are awesome,” said one on the survey. “Keep up the great work. I have only been here for a few years, but I am proud to say I am from Guymon!”

Another said, “Main Street Guymon is a great connector for the community. If they were to go away, there would be a very large void to be filled.”

And for that sentiment alone, those who work as a part Main Street Guymon say, “Thank you. We hope our programs today, and in the future, hold true to our mission and to always remember that we are all about making lasting relationships, one handshake at a time.”

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results

Survey – Part 4

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and through the Main Street Guymon Facebook page during March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the fourth article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

The health of local retail is one of the top two priorities in the national Main Street program. Recent retail events and programs and how they fared in the Main Street Guymon Program survey of the community is interesting. The highest ranked retail program is the Main Bucks with a positive 79% and 19% who don’t know about it. That leaves 2% saying they don’t really think it is a good move.

Main Bucks are sold in $10 and $20 increments and can be traded, like cash, with over 30 Main Street Guymon business members. So, the Bucks work like a gift card, but can be used 30 different places. Bucks are often used as gifts and contest awards or for customer appreciation.

Around $9,000 in Main Bucks was purchased or given away in 2018.

“Main Bucks are what we give our Main Street Vital Volunteers and what we draw each month at the Cash Mob,” says Main Street Director Melyn Johnson. “This is a good example of how they’re often used. We know that when we give that $20 to someone, it is used here in Guymon. We have had a winner of Main Bucks from Oklahoma City once who said she needed to go shopping before she went home. If it had been a $100 bill, it would have likely been spent in OKC. And it is a way that we continue to support those who support us because we’re steering them to shop in our member stores and the tax revenue from them goes to our community.”

The Breakfast and Business at BOP program has a 76% rating on the survey. These are business classes set up to help our business owners and managers and those of the future to learn more, helping them to be more successful. The classes are free, and the Bank of the Panhandle schedules the classes and provides a breakfast with them. The classes are open to everyone, not just Main Street members and not just BOP customers.

Anyone who has a topic they would like to see covered in these business sessions, should contact Sally Hawkins at the bank or Melyn Johnson at Main Street Guymon.

The Career Focus program is a professional development workshop that takes eight Friday mornings and has local presenters teach individuals how to develop their professional skills. This program starts in September and ends the first Friday in November. It is open to 15 people and is entering it’s fifth year. The cost is $250 per person.

“We learned that it was very expensive to attend a professional development course because the workshop plus travel and rooming is a big expense,” explains Johnson. This ends up costing several thousand dollars and not all companies can justify doing this for their employees who would like to become better managers.” So, the committee looked at many different courses offered nationwide and drew together a workshop using primarily local sources who teach their segment of the program as a volunteer. This kept the cost very affordable. And with it only taking a half day a week out of the office, it also is easier for the business to be able to do than sending someone for a week – long program.

“I believe the program helps our businesses in several ways and I’m proud of the session leaders we have who are kind enough to share their expertise. Through this program we have gained some real Main Street backers. Two of our current Main Street Guymon board members started their involvement with the organization with the Career Focus program.

“While doing this program,” continues Johnson. “I have come to really appreciate the businesses that invest in education for their employees. It is a commitment that not everyone does. And I have come to highly respect those who are working to be better employees and take some things from the course and work harder for their employees and communities.”

The Main Street Guymon board of directors is proud to continue offering this educational and networking opportunity to local businesses and their employees.

The Lunch and Cash Mob programs brought in a 72% and 71% positive vote with 24% of those surveyed saying they didn’t know about the programs. Each mob is comprised of volunteers who go once a month to a retail establishment (the cash mob) and to restaurants (lunch mob) who are Main Street Guymon members. The cash mobsters promise to spend a minimum of $20 at the store and often find themselves going into stores that they have not previously shopped. Same with the restaurants, where the mobsters order off the menu and buy their own lunch.

“It can be an adventure,” says one mobster. “And it is fun. It doesn’t take much time and it is a way to support your local businesses.”

A comment on the survey stated, “Post when the monthly lunch and evening cash mobs are. Post events on Facebook. Thank you for all you do! Main Street is an awesome program.”

“The suggestion is one that I’m going to do my best to follow with the Cash Mob,” says Johnson. “But with the Lunch Mob I found that when others saw we were going to a restaurant, they would avoid it, in case we took in a large group. So, I quit posting because I sure didn’t want to have the mob to hurt their business! We do need to do a better job of recruiting mobsters,” says Johnson. “And I need to do a better of job of communication with our mobsters. What would be ideal is if we had a volunteer in charge of this who isn’t as scatterbrained as I am.”

The mob programs cost Main Street Guymon $20 a month to have, because there is a drawing each month at the cash mob for a $20 Main Bucks. It is an obvious benefit to the member businesses, but another aspect is when someone wants to get more involved and meet new people in the community, this is a fun and easy way to do it.

The survey asked the public their opinion about a new program the board has decided to offer, a Start Your Own Business class. The class is six weeks long, meeting once a week in the evenings and will start in January of 2020. There was a 68% of the survey takers who that this was a good idea. Thirty percent said they didn’t know about it, which makes sense since it hasn’t happened yet.

The lowest scoring retail program was the Mystery Shopper. For this, a member business can work with the director on putting together a questionnaire that unknown volunteers fill out after visiting the store.

“We have a basic shoppers form that the business owner / manager and I rework to answer the questions that they would like to find out about their business and their employees,” says Johnson. “Then I share it with locals who go into the store and then fill out the form, giving a critique of their experience. This is a program that is offered to our businesses at no charge. After five to ten shoppers fill out their forms, I compile the responses and send it to the owner / manager.

“There are several reasons that this is a good program, in my opinion. First, you have at least five people go into your business, which is an opportunity to sell to them, or at least to make a positive impression. You also have the chance to find out what improvements you can make so that there are more positive impressions than before.

“We can always improve. And this is another program where there is no cost on the budget.” This is a program that is used whenever a business owner expresses an interest to have it done.

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results

Survey – Part 3

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and through the Main Street Guymon social media during March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the third article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

The third most popular Main Street Guymon event or program according to the recent survey is the Main Street Guymon benches and flower – pots program.

Research shows that when someone has a place to sit comfortably, more time is spent in the stores, and, consequently, more sales are likely to be made. Whether it is the shopper sitting for a spell or the husband calmly sitting while the wife shops, the benches are a good retail investment. The black metal benches that are slowly appearing downtown and in some other spots around town are sometimes purchased by Main Street Guymon, some are bought in memory of a person, and others are purchased by a company and placed downtown.

The logo of the company that purchased the bench is generally the back cut out. And those that are memorial benches have a gold medallion with the name of the person memorialized.

“We like these benches because they are comfortable, sturdy, and look really good with the new light posts downtown,” explains Design Committee Chairman JuliAnn Graham. “We appreciate the City Parks Department for anchoring the benches into the sidewalk for us. They’ve been very helpful.”

The benches are ordered from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and cost $492 to Main Street member businesses and $542 to non – members. Ninety – three percent of those who took the survey like the benches and flower program.

Another high on the list of appreciation with the community is the Main Street Transformers youth mentoring program. Each year, a maximum of ten freshmen or sophomores are accepted into the program. They meet one Saturday morning each month and have field trips, volunteering, and other activities that help them to learn more about themselves and their community. To be invited back into the program the following year, a Transformer is required to have a community project that they plan and implement themselves. The project is something that addresses an issue important to the Transformer and is helpful to the community.

“Taos McIntyre,” says Transformer sponsor and board chairman Kristine Scott, “is very good with computers and using technology and his project has been to help local businesses get a better position on the internet. He knows the importance of being in Google to gain business and he has, at no cost, taken his laptop into businesses the past three years and gotten them set up.”

What is easy for the young McIntyre isn’t always easy for the business owners and this is a benefit to them. So, McIntyre’s project falls within the priorities of Main Street Guymon and is a project that he feels strongly about and is good at doing.

“The problem we have with the Transformers,” explains Main Street Director Melyn Johnson, “is getting the word out to the kids and getting applications. Then as the students get older and more involved in school activities, jobs, and sports, it can be difficult for them to find time to meet. We always stress that school and families take precedence over Transformers and we know that is right, but it makes it hard on scheduling at times.”

Day field trips over the years have included Alabaster Caverns, Great Salt Plains, and the Citadel Art Museum.

For a time, Transformers was sponsored by Manny and Susan Barias and then by Seaboard, but at present there is no sponsor. On the survey, 80% like the program and 2% were not aware of it. Only 9% said they didn’t think it was important for a Main Street program.

“In my opinion, this is a program that we need to put a little more energy into,” says Johnson. “Working with the youth and helping them find their place in the community and in life is always crucial. We have given a small scholarship to the Transformers who have stayed with the program until they graduate and to continue. we really need to find another sponsor. One of the great parts is how involved the Transformers get in the Main Street events, become excellent volunteers for us.

“The Aggie Families program is one that has no cost other than time to continue. Through it our volunteer numbers continue to grow tremendously. Each time we weigh the programs we keep or start, it’s our goal for the partners and Main Street Guymon to benefit equally. The volunteer growth is the main benefit for us, but what it garners for Oklahoma Panhandle State University and its athletes is support and participation. The families find a new friend and often, as family, get into the games free of charge. And it’s fun for most everyone. It’s a win – win – win program and the family and athlete go into it giving as many hours as they’re willing. There’s no requirements to meet.”

The personal impact some of the players and families have made are amazing. The impact of the athlete’s assistance in the Main Street programs is breath taking. “When you have 25 to 80 college football players helping with the community clean – up,” laughs Johnson, “some serious work gets done. When you have the college baseball team painting the bathroom at the park, it’s done in a really short time. You don’t even need ladders!”

When you add 75 Aggie Families to the football stands, holding their posters and yelling for their Aggie, it generates enthusiasm and positive energy. Aggie Families are typically found for the athletes who live a long distance from home and do not have family able to be here for support. Aggie Families are only found for those who request to be in the program.

“In our Main Street trainings,” Johnson says, “the topic on how to get the local university population involved in the community is often discussed. Most students who are from out of town know where the local fast – food restaurants are and the local large discount store. They often don’t find the unique locally owned and operated small businesses. When they become a part of the Main Street program, they are often introduced to more of these and are introduced to local events that they would not have attended before.”

The OPSU baseball team has worked the Guymon Fiesta for several years as Main Street volunteers. There are a good number of Spanish speaking players on the team and this is a perfect match for them and for the event. They have fun and we have more than 20 volunteers working the entire day. The same team provided the servers for the award – winning Main Street Pangaea dinner.

The OPSU football players have been volunteers at Outback, at the Silent Auction, and other events and programs. And each time someone comes in as a Main Street Aggie Family, it builds the volunteer base for the organization as some of them become involved in other programs.

For those who completed the survey, 74% think the Aggie Family program is good and 3% are not fans of the program for Main Street Guymon.

One comment from the survey takers was, “Getting your knowledge, drive, and involvement exposed as much as possible to the youth and schools benefits not only our children, but the future of Guymon. More programs or experiences like Transformers would be great. Try and aim to reach diverse cultures at the same time. You are doing great. Keep it up.”

“The bottom line on Transformers and Aggie Families,” says Johnson, “is that the Main Street Guymon Board of Directors believe that if you want to be involved with the community and make a difference, it is important, if you can, to be a participant with the youth. They are the future of the community and, thus, part of our future. We need to do this while still remembering that our first priorities as a Main Street organization are the businesses and historical preservation. We can sometimes be more effective when partnering with organizations, like OPSU and the YMCA, who have youth as a top priority.”

The past six years, Main Street Guymon sponsored a mentoring program called Cassie’s Kids that matched mentors with junior high aged girls. The program was run by Cassi Jo Schriefer who recently moved away. Her two mentees that she enjoyed working with for the past six years are graduating from high school and she is moving, so this program was taken off of the strategic plan for 2019.

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results

Survey – Part 2

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and through the Main Street Guymon social media during March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the second article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

The second most popular Main Street Guymon event or program according to the recent survey is the Main Street Guymon Facebook page.

The page, administered by Main Street Guymon Director, shares community events and member information that people might find interesting.

“It is a goal to not inundate someone with the same thing over and over because this will set people to hiding our page,” explains Director Melyn Johnson. “And we want to promote positive things because we really don’t want to perpetuate negative thoughts and issues. There is a good reason for this. We have 10,000 to 24,000 people engaging our posts every month. Facebook will show you each month which post has received the most attention. It is always a positive post, something that tells about someone doing well, or one of the veteran’s banners of a well – known person, something of this sort. Talking smack isn’t what we’re about.

“I admit,” says Johnson, “the information from our member businesses do get priority. I don’t apologize for that, because we support those who support us. If it weren’t for the membership dues from individuals and businesses, there wouldn’t be a Main Street Facebook page.”
At this time there are 4,751 Facebook likes on Main Street Guymon’s page and hitting 5,000 in 2019 might well happen.

One of the fun things to post is the announcement of the Main Street Guymon Vital Volunteer of the Month. Volunteers come from all walks of life, all ages, different cultural backgrounds, and yet they all have one thing in common – they love working to make Guymon a better place to live and work.

“The Vital Volunteer posts each month are always popular,” tells Johnson. “These are folks that usually don’t just help Main Street Guymon but do all sorts of other things in the community. So, they get a lot of attention when a post commending them, and their work, goes up.”
One person wrote in the comment section of the survey, “I love living among such community – based people. Thanks for all the programs and opportunities.”

Another said, “Keep up the good work. It helps businesses keep up with what is going on in Guymon.”

“More business owners need to be involved with Main Street,” said one person.

Main Street Guymon, with one full – time paid person, and the entirely volunteer staff, would love to have more members and ideas of ways to invite people to join. “It is always the decision of the business owner where they want to invest their money,” says Johnson. “And we don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives. So, we just pray blessings on all the businesses and appreciate those that are able and willing to invest the $200 a year to be a Main Street Guymon supporter.”

“Time is what always gets in the way,” says one board member. “It isn’t easy going and asking people to become members. We try to have positive activities for the town and businesses, hoping that people appreciate what we do and join to support the programs. But we admit we aren’t good at going door to door and asking people to join.”

There is often the misunderstanding that you must be a downtown business to be a member of Main Street Guymon. This is not the case. Many of the biggest supporters and sponsors are outside the “historical” downtown (Hwy 54 north to 12th Street, on Main, Ellison and Quinn Streets).

This misunderstanding is difficult to get across as can be seen with the survey comment, “Let other businesses in so you can grow.”

“We hope that we don’t appear to not let anyone in,” commented a Main Street Guymon board member. “We want to encourage participation from everyone in all that we do.”

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results

Survey – Part 1

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and through the Main Street Guymon Facebook page during March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the first article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

The most popular program or event sponsored by Main Street Guymon, according to the answers on the survey, is the Community Clean – Up, with only one person not giving it a thumbs up. The one who didn’t give it a positive answer said they were not aware of the program.

The Community Clean – Ups take place in April and September each year and has for over 10 years. Main Street Guymon is one of the organizers of the event, but the true work comes from hundreds of volunteers through many different groups that pitch in and primarily do trash pick – up to make the town look better.

This is an image event and does not bring in any funds in to Main Street Guymon. Rather, it often costs Main Street when they feed some of the larger clean – up crews. The Main Street board of directors has always considered this a positive use of funds.

The Farmer’s Market came in with a 93% positive vote and only 1% negative. This popular event has been happening for over a dozen years and is an event that is also an image event. For many years Main Street Guymon has received a sponsorship from Linda Hill Crop Insurance that paid for the banners, the little bit of advertising and promotion in past years, and the permit required through the City of Guymon.

“I feel like Farmers Market could be bigger and those who do in – home cooking or baking should be able to have a booth again,” wrote one person on the survey. The Home Baking Act was passed, but the vendors at the market are still under the requirements of the food inspector at the Texas County Health Department.

The Farmer’s Market is a chance to buy farm or garden – fresh vegetables that have a chance to ripen on the vine. The Helm’s family has a huge selection to choose from, and Mary Long, who has been a member of the market since it began, is also considered a core of the market.

Outback is the third most popular Main Street Guymon event, according to the survey. This outdoor street event that takes place the Friday after Pioneer Days is the event around the pre – registration for Iron Thunder’s Five State Motorcycle Run. Main Street Guymon volunteers sell beef and pork burgers with beans and beverages for $5 while live music is happening on the street.

Outback received a 79% positive vote with the remaining voters saying they did not know about it. This event, through sponsorships, is a small fund raiser, usually garnering about $1,000 for the Main Street Guymon coffers.

“Outback is one of those events that is in support of our partner, Iron Thunder,” explains Melyn Johnson. “And at the same time, we use it almost as a volunteer appreciate event. It is one that is a lot of fun and Charles White has the planning of it down to a tee. We love Outback.”
Shop Small Breakfast has happened two years and is a retail promotion event where Main Street Guymon and Charles White Insurance have breakfast burritos available the Saturday after Thanksgiving so shoppers can fortify themselves and go out Christmas shopping. The committee is discussing maybe having the breakfast later in the morning, when there are more shoppers going out.

This small event has a 74% positive rating, with 23% saying they didn’t know about it.

Guymon Fiesta had a 68% positive rating with 27% saying they were unaware of the event, and 4% not liking it. This event scores as the number one fund raiser for Main Street Guymon, with the sponsors being many who are not Main Street Guymon members.

“We have found that the Fiesta is great for our diversification,” explains Johnson. “The Fiesta was a long – time City of Guymon event until three years ago, when a City official came to us and said they would not be able to do it anymore and asked if Main Street would like to take it. We love the event, it takes place on Main Street, and Soila Medina who has organized the event for many years was our Board Chairman at the time. It seemed like a perfect fit on our Road Map of Events! It is also the event that brings in the most sponsorship dollars of all.”

Last year, through the help of Hal Clark, Main Street Guymon held a silent auction that brought in about a $1,000. The auction received a 55% positive vote with a 42% not knowing about the auction.

Another new program last year was the Pangaea International Evening that had a similar return on the investment of time. This was an educational cultural event to teach more about our community history and populations. The evenings tickets sold out. Of those who answered the survey, 51% liked the event and 41% didn’t know about it.

The Main Street Guymon Board of Directors feels it is important to continually work to blend and bond our population and this can be helped through education. The better we know one another, the more we can work together towards greater community goals.

One opinion expressed in the survey was to “bring more projects that impact the City of Guymon as a whole and will be in place for generations to come.” They continued, “Work on actual changes to Main Street, historical district instead of concentrating on nothing but events. Events are good, but seeing actual change is what will make this community grow.”

Another opinion written on the comment section wanted more events and they said, “Bring back the Car Show, Sunflower Festival, Christmas Parade, and add maybe a once a month ‘Summertime Saturday night’ street dance featuring local bands. Charge a minimal $5 per person, $10 per couple, armband drinking. Bring fun to downtown. Think about it, sidewalks lined with lawn chairs and people having a great time.”

The Car Show that used to be in Guymon was an event done by the Flatlanders Car Club. The Sunflower Festival was an event done by the Art Gallery. The Christmas Parade was a Chamber event and has been replaced by the Live Local event done by the Bank of the Panhandle and the Christmas Downtown by the Art Gallery. Having a street event like the Summertime Saturday Night sounds fun, but it is nearly impossible to gate (charge admission) on a street event without barricades.

“Bringing fun downtown is something that we love to do more often,” one Main Street Guymon board member said. “If there was a group that wanted to do this, we would really enjoy partnering with them to help make it happen.”

“Asking for opinions is interesting,” says Johnson. “And the ideas can really vary. The two people’s opinions both deserve to be read and to consider, but there isn’t really any way that you can please everyone. It’s impossible.”

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results

June 11, 2019

This morning at 3:30, I woke up. I had fallen asleep while reading my book, so I picked my book back up and continued reading. Good book. Before long, the book got sad and I there I was crying and pretty soon my nose was running and then I could hardly breath.

Getting up, I hurried to the bathroom to blow my nose and I took a Kleenex back to bed with me and used it on my nose continually. Because the book only got sadder and I kept crying.

The character finally died and I cried more. Then the book was over. It was 6:00 in the morning, straight up. Time to get up and get ready for work.

Now it’s 9 am and pretty soon I’ll be in a meeting. I’m hoping my eyes are not still swollen and red. Go figure, I paid money for that book and spent m. any hours reading it. To make me cry and cry and cry.

We do some of the strangest things.

Maybe I should take the book and present about it at the Texas County Literary Society on June 20 at the Guymon Public Library. The meeting starts at 6 pm and it’s a time for readers to share their favorite book. So. if anyone wants to cry and cry, they can choose to read the book I present. Sounds like great fun, right? Crowds will rush to check out this book, I’m sure.

When you’re at the library, you might also see that the OSU Extension is holding Yoga for Kids, free at from 2-3 pm on June 14, 21, and 27. That sounds like fun. If I tried, it would probably make me cry, too.

There is a Summer movie shown behind the YMCA on June 15 at Sundown. The movie is “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Keep an eye out, there may be some other games and maybe a food truck, too.

OPSU Alumni are getting together for a Summer Night Out at the Pub on the Bricks from 6 – 9 pm on June 20. Great time to get together, all alumni, all ages. Come in to 5th and Ellison and come for however long you want to stay. Find out some of the new happenings on campus.

Maybe we’ll be celebrating a three-pete Collegiate National Finals Rodeo Championship!

And golfers, be sure to take part in the Guymon Chamber Golf Tournament on June 22.

Lots of good things going on in Guymon. Be a part. We’d love to see you there.

See you on the bricks!

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