Citizens Leadership road rally project tests residents knowledge of Queen Creek

How much to do you know about Queen Creek?

A group of local residents has created an event to help people become familiar with the town and surrounding area while spending a few hours having fun.

The Queen Creek Road Rally and Scavenger Hunt will take place Saturday, April 22. It will start at 9 a.m. from Queen Creek High School, 22149 E. Ocotillo Road, and end at Schnepf Farms, 24610 S. Rittenhouse Road.

Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. at the high school. There is no registration fee. A post-event meal will be available for $10 at Schnepf Farms.

During the rally, teams will review a list of mixed-up clues and solve their location. Teams then will drive to each location and obtain either a piece of information or take a picture as determined by the clue, according to the event website: http://www.queencreek.org/town-hall/community-outreach/citizen-leadership-road-rally.

Citizen Leadership Institute

The road rally is the brainchild of a quartet of residents who are members of the town of Creek Citizen Leadership Institute. Tasha Bantau, Robert Fisher, Ashley Fuller and Stephanie Sandoval created the event to fulfill a CLI class project requirement, Mr. Fisher said.

He sees the event as an extension of his own desire to learn more about the town and meet his fellow residents, he said during a phone interview.

Mr. Fisher and his wife, Doris, moved to Queen Creek about 15 months ago. He enrolled in the institute after hearing about it during a community input meeting last summer for the town’s proposed West Park.

CLI is a town-hosted program designed to spark an interest in local issues and present information about important questions facing the town, according to the town’s website: www.queencreek.org. Presented free of charge from September and May, the institute’s 10 sessions give participants an insider’s look at municipal topics such as budget, economic development, public safety, planning and zoning, education and water conservation.

Last year, the participants were charged with creating a community project as part of their graduation requirements. This year’s CLI class of 40 members — twice the size as last year — decided on six projects from which they could choose, Debra Kuffner, the town’s marketing and recreation director who facilitates the institute, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Each group would be responsible for designing, executing and raising any funds necessary to complete the project, she said. Representatives from the groups will present their completed projects to the Queen Creek Town Council in May.

In addition to the road rally and scavenger hunt, this year’s projects included an effort to explore and document the trails in Queen Creek; a program to mentor and engage youth leaders in local government and the community; a dine local campaign; hosting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) events in conjunction with the AZ Tech Festival; and a toy drive, Ms. Kuffner said.

The inaugural Cycle the Creek program April 1 was supported by one of the CLI groups, Ms. Kuffner said.

“The trails project group created a new QC trails map which was distributed at Cycle the Creek,” she said. “They also volunteered at the event helping participants navigate the pre-race obstacle course and providing event set-up support.”

Ms. Kuffner said the road rally is an ideal CLI project.

“I love it. It’s a great way for residents to learn about their local community by participating in a fun and family-friendly activity,” she said.

Road rally

When CLI members were brainstorming project ideas, Mr. Fisher suggested a road rally and scavenger hunt. The concept was one with which he was well familiar, having participated in three such events in North Carolina, he said.

In addition, Ms. Bantau participated in a road rally in California, he said.

Cruising the community would help him learn about local areas of interest.

“There was so much I didn’t know about Queen Creek that I learned from people in the group, like about the Pegasus Airpark. I thought others would like to learn more as well,” he said.

Pegasus Airpark is a gated residential aviation community at Empire Boulevard and Achilles Way in Queen Creek, according to its website: www.pegasus-airpark.com.

The committee met several times to organize the event, but due to the members’ busy schedules, much of their communication is by e-mail, Mr. Fisher said.

Ms. Bantau developed relationships with people at the many sites that will be located along the rally route, Mr. Fisher said. Ms. Fuller produced the event graphics, he said.

Ms. Sandoval has been the committee’s liaison with the Queen Creek Unified School District, where she has children attending school. She helped secure the Queen Creek High School campus as the starting point for the rally.

Ms. Sandoval chose to work on the road rally project because it appealed to her background in real estate.

“I liked that it could feature local businesses and places in Queen Creek, places that a person new to the community would want to experience,” Ms. Sandoval said during a phone interview.

The five-year Queen Creek resident said participating in the CLI and road rally has helped her get acquainted with other community members she normally might not meet due to her work schedule.

One of the most challenging aspects of organizing the event has been overseeing its legal requirements, Mr. Fisher said.

“We have had to ensure we’re legally covered and had to run the waiver past the town, who ran it by their lawyers to edit,” he said.
Dealing with legal realities is all part of the CLI program, Ms. Kuffner said.

“Creating any type of event open to the general public has its challenges. Having legal counsel approve the participant waiver is important for safety and liability reasons. This can (and did) take time,” Ms. Kuffner said. “Coordinating with local businesses might also be challenging as this often requires follow-up and personal connections. Additionally, adding another event on top of an already busy spring event season can be challenging for marketing and attendance.”

One of the most rewarding aspects of the planning process, Mr. Fisher said, was having a local businessperson, after hearing about the road rally, ask to be included in the event.

He declined to name the business because it might appear in the road rally clues, he said.

Rally requirements

Each team must have a minimum of two participants — a driver and a navigator. Mr. Fisher recommended having four members.

“While two are driving and navigating, the others can help with the clues,” he said.

Team members should bring a camera or cellphone with which to take pictures. They also must bring a valid driver’s license, insurance for the vehicle being used and a signed waiver (available on the website) for each member.

“They also should bring a great attitude and they’ll have a great time,” Mr. Fisher said.

The winner is not determined by fastest time, but by a combination of the closest time to perfect by obeying traffic laws and the number of correct answers to the clues provided, according to the event website.

Since it is the inaugural event, prizes for the road rally and scavenger hunt will be minimal, Mr. Fisher said. But he hopes the event will generate interest and will be expanded to businesses that can help sponsor prizes,

In the meantime, participants can depend on the fun factor, he said.

“The key component is, if they want to learn more about the town have have a good time while doing it, they should try it,” Mr. Fisher said.

If you go
What: Queen Creek Road Rally and Scavenger Hunt
When: 9 a.m. Saturday, April 22. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.
Where: This free event starts at Queen Creek High School, 22149 E. Ocotillo Road, and ends at Schnepf Farms, 24610 S. Rittenhouse Road. A post-event meal will be sold for $10 at Schnepf Farms.
For more information: E-mail qcrrsh2017@gmail.com or visit the event website at http://www.queencreek.org/town-hall/community-outreach/citizen-leadership-road-rally.

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