Bass Pro Shops is donating 50,000 rods and reels for kids

Go fishing with Bass Pro, Cabela’s

Johnny Morris, fisherman, conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, is challenging families everywhere to get outside and enjoy the wonders of fishing and the outdoors this summer with the Gone Fishing event.

To kick off the event, Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are donating more than 50,000 rods and reels to nonprofit partners helping children of all backgrounds connect to the outdoors.

The ninth annual Gone Fishing event activities include equipment donations, dozens of nonprofit partnerships and a variety of free in-store fishing and casting activities at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations on Sunday, June 16.

Since the program’s inception in 2015, Johnny, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have donated nearly 450,000 rods and reels to youth-focused nonprofits across North America.

Families can share their kids’ favorite fishing photos for a chance to win Bass Pro’s new Braggin’ Board. For more information, visit

Drury Honors Distinguished Alumni

On May 11, Drury University hosted the 72nd annual Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony for Alumni Weekend.

Established in 1951, the Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize individuals who have achieved professional and personal success and exemplary service to their communities.

Each selected alumni will become a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Awards in one of the following categories:

The Lifetime Achievement, for the alumnus whose life and achievements have earned the respect of their industry, profession or community, went to Edwin “Cookie” Rice, class of 1952, and Wes Pratt, 1973.

Basil “Trent” Webb, 1989, was awarded Career Achievement for exceptional achievement in his professional endeavors, a reflection of the honor of the university and its alumni.

Michael “Mike” White, 1961, received the Volunteer Award for serving his community in an exemplary manner with a record of leadership and dedicated service.

Kelly Sitzman, 2010, was named a Young Alumni for achievements that set a standard for lifelong excellence.

Lynn Chipperfield, 1973, received the University Engagement Award for outstanding achievement in her personal and professional endeavors, with special reference to her exceptional service to the University.

Rita Baron, 1999, earned the Special Merit award for distinguished contributions in support of the university, alumni and the Drury family during the previous year.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2025 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Nominations received after March 1 will be considered for the following year.

LFCS is looking for diaper donations

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS), with offices in Springfield and elsewhere in Missouri, is seeking diaper donations amid a severe shortage that is depleting diaper banks across the state.

“In Missouri, rising diaper costs – often more than $100 a month – are forcing families to make a heartbreaking choice: buy diapers or put food on the table,” said Krista Adams, Regional Development Officer for LFCS in Springfield. “Diapers are not a luxury. They are essential to a child’s health and development.”

LFCS offices throughout Missouri are actively seeking diaper donations of all sizes and brands, including diapers your child no longer needs after outgrowing a size or undergoing toilet training. LFCS is a partner in the Missouri Coalition of Diaper Banks, a statewide network fighting for access to diapers for Missouri families. To donate, contact [email protected] or 417-427-6473. For more information, please visit the LFC website.

Branson Church houses VBS

Faith Lutheran Church in Branson is hosting a Vacation Bible School June 28-30.

Outback Rock includes Bible learning experiences that kids see, hear and touch, as well as team-building games, Bible songs and multi-sensory Bible adventures.

There are free t-shirts for everyone and a light meal available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

VBS is intended for children entering through grade 6, with students in grades 7 through 12 invited to serve as volunteers.

The program will be held from 5:30 PM to 8:15 PM, June 28 from 8:30 AM to 11:15 AM and June 30 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. After breakfast on Sunday, everyone is encouraged to stay for the final VBS program.

Register early at or call 417-334-2469.

Faith Lutheran Church is located just off the Cox Branson Hospital traffic circle at 221 Malone Drive.

Elevate Life Thursday evening

Elevate Branson invites the public to “discover the path to a more fulfilling life” by participating in the Elevate Life program on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

The first Thursday of each month, participants will pack and deliver meals to weekly and extended stay motels. For the remainder of the Thursdays of each month, Elevate Life provides a welcoming and inclusive environment. To explore life’s deeper questions and give each other the strength to navigate life’s challenges and joys.

A free meal and childcare is offered. Call 417-239-7818 on Thursday before 4:00 PM to arrange transportation.