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Bethel chosen as Hometown Teams partner site, to look at sports and community

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Kansas Humanities Council recently announced that Bethel College has been selected as a “Hometown Teams” partner site.

Bethel is one of 17 organizations (and the only college or university) that will receive a grant of up to $1,500 to tell the local story of sports and community.

Bethel and the 16 museums, historical societies, libraries and community organizations across the state will use the grant funds to research and document local sports stories as part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Hometown Teams initiative.

The initiative is named for a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition that tells the story of how sports shape America. “Hometown Teams” kicks off its statewide tour in Ellinwood in January 2015 and will continue on to stops in Goodland, Greensburg, Atchison, Perry and Humboldt through November 2015.

The Kansas Humanities Council is sponsoring “Hometown Teams” in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program.

The Kansas Humanities Council’s Hometown Teams partner sites will each explore ways sports build and unite communities, resulting in exhibitions, oral history projects and public programs. From the little leagues to the big leagues and everywhere in between, partner site projects will examine how sports are a significant part of the national narrative.

“The Bethel events will be tied in to [College Issues Colloquy, required for all first-time freshmen] for fall 2015, partly as a series of public programs discussing the various ways that our communities connect through sports,” said Rachel Epp Buller, associate professor of art and a CIC faculty leader.

“This ties in directly to one of the current CIC texts, Outcasts United by Warren St. John. We’ll be drawing on area resources to make the connection in our local communities as well. As one example, BC grad Ben Chappell will come from Lawrence to talk about the work he’s doing on the Newton Mexican-American fast-pitch softball tournament, the longest-running one of its kind in the U.S.”

In addition to Bethel College, Hometown Teams partner site projects will also take place in Blue Rapids, Cottonwood Falls, Eudora, Glasco, Great Bend, Hays, Hiawatha, Independence, Jetmore, La Cygne, Larned, Lawrence, Lyons, Oakley, Pratt and Wamego.

The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information, visit

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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