The Mapleton Starspinners 4-H Club uses the Mapleton Community Center for their monthly meetings. During the year, each member is expected to give one presentation.

“In order to become a better public speaker, members need to become accustomed to using a microphone,” said Starspinners Leader Sharyl Bruning. “The current system was broken and simply non-functional.”

The Starspinners received a grant from the Monona County Community Partners Foundation to help replace the sound system in the community center. Under the guidance of Bruning those helping with this grant were Amanda Grell and Billi Craig. 

Bruning said by working on grant applications, a member can also learn the process of learning the needs in the community, narrowing down the project to a doable nature, how to secure bids, budgeting, actually writing the application, and if the grant is awarded, how to carry it out to completion.

“One thing they learn is that grants are never a sure thing. We rarely have received everything we apply for,” Bruning said. “This is understandable as there are many worthwhile projects needed in the county.”

The Monona County Community Partners Foundation (MCCPF) is a charitable foundation created by and for the people of Monona County. The mission of the MCCPF is to enhance the quality of life in the county by linking philanthropic leadership and charitable resources to best meet the needs of the county.

The club purchased the sound system from InControl Electronics in Mapleton. InControl employees, with some help from the city electrical employees, did the installation. The system includes new ceiling speakers, amp, CD player, microphone, and locking cabinet.

When renting the building, a key can be checked out from Mapleton City Hall for use of the sound system.

The Starspinner members also used their club funds to add a retractable screen.

“This is the community’s building, and one we all want to be proud of,” Bruning said. “One project area 4-H members can participate in is citizenship – doing something for your community. By applying for this grant each year, we hope to show kids the importance of working for and giving back to their community.”

The kids offer their opinions each year on projects they see as a need in the community. Since the club is in the building monthly, they tend to see some things needed to keep it in usable condition. 

Over the years, the Starspinners have received grants to help improve the community center, including renovations to the front of the building, new refrigerator, kitchen items (including trays, coffee servers, coffee pot, roaster), a new kitchen island, a microwave, new kitchen flooring, and shelving units for the storage room.

They have also used grants to help build the playground equipment in the city park, add a countertop in the shelter house, added a concrete pad on the north side of the shelter, and added 12 concrete flower pots along Main Street.

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