POULSBO — It seems that for many people life has become full of negativity, so perhaps it’s time to do something positive.
That’s the aim for North Kitsap senior Geneva Newell, a girl scout who, for her gold award project, is putting together a day of positivity downtown this weekend.
In fact, the free event is simply called Poulsbo’s Day of Positivity. It takes place from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park and will feature a number of family-friendly activities as well as live music.
Newell was a Girl Scout growing up in Central Pennsylvania, but when she and her family moved to Poulsbo after she finished seventh grade, she never found a new troop. A chance meeting with the director of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington showed her the avenue to rejoin the scouts and go for her Gold Award.
“I always thought it would be really awesome to pursue a project like that,” Newell said.
Her move to Poulsbo came during a difficult period of her life, but it would serve as the inspiration for future projects, including the Day of Positivity.
Newell had suffered a compound tibia/fibula fracture in a skateboarding accident and was in a wheelchair for six weeks. By the time she began at Poulsbo Middle School, she was still on crutches. Several visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital followed, including surgery to remove the metal pieces supporting her leg while her bones healed.
“It was a really dark part of my life,” Newell said. “What helped me get through was inspirational quotes, which kind of sounds dorky, but it really helped me.”
Since the quotes helped Newell through a tough time, she thought they might help others as well. It began with passing little notecards around school and eventually developed into Cards for Courage, a project that sent inspirational and positive cards to patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital to help them through their own tough times.
Through events such as Holiday Fest and 3rd of July, the project was also able to raise money for the hospital and expand its focus to sending cards to retired veterans at Retsil in Port Orchard — but the goal always remained the same.
“It was never really about collecting donations, it was more about putting a smile on people’s faces,” Newell said.
That positive spirit will on Saturday. The Day of Positivity will have booths for face painting, crafts and friendship bracelets, and one for button-making by volunteers from the Kitsap Regional Library.
The Poulsbo Yacht Club’s Jr. Sailing Program will have a boat on land that will allow kids to sit in and maneuver it. Other local community organization that will be on hand are the Poulsbo Piranha Swim Team, Peninsula Music and Art Society, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge youth services, the North Kitsap Soccer Club and the “You Are Awesome” campaign.
There will also be live music by local artists from 2 to 9 p.m.
Newell said the support she has received from the local community has allowed her to create a much larger event than she originally envisioned with many different people donating their time or equipment. It allowed to stay within her relatively small budget. She received a grant from the Poulsbo Rotary and also had the opportunity to present her idea to the city council, which gave her their full support.
“Our community has really been open to helping in ways I didn’t realize before,” Newell said.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— This story has been updated to correct the name of the organization providing the boat demonstration. We apologize for the error.