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`Sunflower Summer' program has become a big hit, officials say

Posted Date: 07/26/2021

`Sunflower Summer' program has become a big hit, officials say

Education officials Monday said the “Sunflower Summer” program, which allows students and families to visit museums, parks and other attractions for free, continues to be a resounding success.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said he attended the Sunflower Summer campout last week at Tuttle Creek State Park in Manhattan.

More than 150 parents and children attended the two-day event, which featured canoeing, archery, fishing, games, dinner and more.

Watson said some parents thanked him, saying this was the only vacation they could take.

Assistant Commissioner Brad Neuenswander said because of the pandemic, students have been unable to go on field trips for the entire school year.

“We wanted parents and students to reconnect with learning experiences,” Neuenswander said.

Funding for the enrichment program is provided by federal assistance dollars under the American Rescue Plan Act and is a collaboration between the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, KU Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and Greenbush Education Service Center.

Within the Sunflower Summer app is a passport that allows participants to track where they have visited on their adventures.

Once a location has been selected, tickets can be claimed within the app. When attendees are ready to enter, the ticket can be activated and presented to the ticket taker.

Child care facilities also can access and use the app for field trips. Each Kansas student (pre-K through 12th-grade) and up to two adults may access a ticket voucher to each of the participating attractions in the Sunflower Summer app. After the first use, the Sunflower Summer passport (in the app) will be stamped, and the ticket will no longer be accessible.

More information and a frequently-asked-questions section are available at

The Sunflower Summer program runs through Aug. 15. Funding for this program is limited, and tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis.