2022 Year-end Review Staff Picks: April

As we near the end of 2022 and reflect on this past year, we are so grateful to be a news provider in these amazing communities of Southwest Arkansas! For our 2022 year-end review, viewers will get to hear from your favorite SWARKansans about their favorite projects of the year and what made them so special! Today's staff pick is from April!

There are so many projects we do within these incredible communities that it is really hard to pick just one favorite! I know I use words like camaraderie and fellowship often in my writing, but it's so very true. I feel extremely blessed that in my job I get to experience the sense of community that (before two years ago) I thought only existed in movies and books. How very wrong I was.

To see people in Hope pull together to build a man a new home when he lost his in a winter storm was awe-inspiring. I shared the conclusion of that story back in April with There's No Place Like Hope Pt. 3, and I was just as moved as I had been the previous year when the story began (Part 1, Part 2).

Every time I attend an event in Prescott like the chamber's Fall Festival, an activity at Curry's, or a function at the Prescott Police Department, I am humbled yet again at the kindness, compassion, and sense of community I have witnessed from fellow citizens.

How could I not know all of those years that such grace lived right outside my front door? There are so many local businesses, civic groups, churches, and other organizations that spend countless hours serving others.

Downtown Hope was overflowing with people during the Back to School Bash and it was entirely free for local families to enjoy. How cool is that?! Plus, Dillan made an amazing video with that one! And we can't talk about Hope unless we mention the Watermelon Festival. So many moving parts to make that happen, and the chamber does a great job bringing everyone together for a fantastic event. We had so much fun making all of those festival videos to share with the community!

I attended a Prescott football game in October and I was captivated by how many people showed up to support these kids. To be on the sidelines while looking up at all the fans going wild and feel that buoyant energy was an unforgettable experience, even for someone as UNathletic as I am! Plus, that was an exciting commercial to make and I learned a great deal!

Each and every time I attend another community event, I am yet again inspired. Then, I wonder ... if I didn't know about this before, then how many others don't? So I start writing or filming! Bren, Shelly, and Dillan already knew about all of these things and began the mission a few years ago of providing local, relevant news and sports to their fellow citizens. I feel so fortunate that I was brought in to be a part of the team, and now we have Jeff on board, too! I get to spend my days spreading the kind of information of which I can be so very proud: positive community news. We at SWARK.Today have even more in store for viewers next year!

There are so many more fascinating events, acitivites, people, places, businesses, and organizations in Hempstead and Nevada Counties that I could mention, but I have to select just one for my staff pick. It would have to be our recent Christmas Caper Investigation! First, it was so much fun to do something that was designed as entertainment for local children! Often, we have to report factual, serious info, so being able to let our creativity run wild to produce something fun for kids was a great experience. But what was most noticeable to me, was the sheer amount of people who jumped right in and participated. I don't believe that in a big city, actually many other places at all, could a reporter and cameraman walk in the door of a random business at the spur of the moment and say, "Hey, we have an idea. Would you like to join us?" and get that kind of repsonse. Where else could the local news call on police officers and ask, "Do you want to make a video with us for the kids?" and have that kind of positive camaraderie. Everyone we asked to participate in this little bit of holiday cutness said yes. Every … single ... one. And that takes me right back to my previous statements. I feel so extremely blessed to be a part of these extraordinary communities!

The full series of the Christmas Caper Investigation can be watched below.