Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Sarah Osmundson

Blue Vests excel in hospitality


February 24, 2016

Sarah Osmundson

Art Lundstrom and Terri Skiff don sporty blue vests as they work in the hospitality room at Malta High School last Friday during the District 3C Basketball Tournament. Photo by Sarah Osmundson.

Once again, Malta's Blue Vests are on the job at the Basketball Tournaments.

To get a better idea about who the Blue Vest are and what they do, Sharon Young offered the following information.

The "Blue Vest" program in association with the Malta High School has been in existence for well over a decade.

This program is sponsored by the Malta Area Chamber of Commerce and was designed as a community service project to assist Malta High School during tournaments.

We assist with crowd control, taking tickets, answering questions, and clean-up.

Without the "Blue Vest" volunteers, the school would have to hire additional help to host these tournaments.

Anyone that is out of high school is welcome to volunteer to assist with this program.

We are always looking for volunteers. We do have some spots available for the upcoming Class B Divisional Tournament to be held this weekend February 25, 26 and 27 in Malta.

We have had many dedicated volunteers. I have been told several times by the faculty how much they appreciate our support and assistance with tournaments.

The Chamber Directors understand that being able to host these tournaments are an honor for our school and very beneficial to our local economy and this is one way that we can show our support for both.

We would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers. We could not do this without you.

If anyone would like to volunteer, they can call me (Sharon Young) at The First State Bank 654-2340 during business hours.

In an interview with Kris Kuehn at the P.C. News on Monday, February 22nd, he further showered favor on the Blue Vest program.

"From the Tournament Manager's side of things I believe that we have the ability to host a tournament at the local level unlike anything else players, coaches, and fans experience except maybe at State Tournament. But even the state tournament's don't offer as much accommodations to make the experience as comfortable as we are able to accomplish with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, from the Blue Vest to the materials that are donated to the Hospitality Room."

"We couldn't do most of it without the help of the Chamber and the Blue Vests."

When asked if the Blue Vest program was original to Malta, Kuehn commented, "I know this, in my very early years at Ophiem, that Glasgow had a program similar. Their sports boosters actually wore red blazers and were throughout the facility in about 1994. So I don't believe we can take full credit."

"The cleanup alone saves hours. Friday night at the end of eight consecutive basketball game it was as destroyed as I have ever seen our gym. That's just a lot basketball games, a lot of people and never a break to clean it."

"When I walked in Saturday morning it was as pristine as it ever is. That is a huge credit to the volunteers and our custodial staff. They really do a remarkable job."

Kuehn continued with some thoughts on holding a tournament in Malta, "it is an honor to host the tournaments and it's a great boost to our economy in the middle of February. It's the schools way of giving back to the community."

Planning for a tournament starts long before tournament time as Kuehn expresses, "a lot of other schools contact us for the administrative content done way before tournaments."

"Mr. King does a tremendous job of being way out in front of things. There's a lot of pre-planning and getting information out to participating schools."

In conclusion Kuehn stated the most important part of having Blue Vest program involvement.

"When those Blue Vests are visible there just seems to be a lot less tom foolery going on because of their presence. That's kind of the whole point. People are focused on what they are there to watch, a basketball game and they don't have to worry about anything else."


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