DARKE COUNTY — C.J. Jasenski and his wife, Emily, found they were having a difficult time finding fun activities to share with their three children.
“All of our kids are very energetic, which keeps us on our toes,” Jasenski said. “They’re also very creative, but sometimes that can be a little messy. So we spend a lot of time looking for productive ways to them to spend their days.”
Jasenski soon found, however, that it was hard to find a single, definitive source for information about child and family-friendly activities in the Darke County area. In other words, it was hard to find out exactly what all was being offered, and where.
Jasenski, who creates websites, primarily for small businesses, through his company One 20 Design and Development, spent some time trying to convince a few of his clients to help fill the void.
“I always stress the idea of having your website be some kind of a resource for the community,” Jasenski said. “Because then people have more than one reason to visit your site.”
Eventually, however, Jasenski’s wife convinced him to take on the task of creating that resource himself.
“My wife was like, ‘You build websites for a living. Why don’t you create one?’” Jasenski said.
So that’s precisely what he did. Jasenski intends for getchalkbored.com to be a one-stop resource for clubs, camps, arts, sports, and other family-friendly activities within two hours’ drive or so of Darke County.
“The idea came from an old chalkboard we had in our kitchen,” Jasenski said. “That’s command central, everything from plans to grocery lists to things we need for the kids.”
The site includes lists of local activities, divided into a number of different categories, along with information about timing, location, whether or not registration for the event is required, and so on. Jasenski prefers to focus on events that are open to the entire community, rather than ones specific to a particular group or school district.
Response from the community to the site, which launched November 1, has been positive, Jasenski said, with volunteers frequently supplying him with information about new programs and events.
“Contribution from the public is pretty vital,” Jasenski said.
One such contributor is Lisa Martin, Marketing and Development Officer at Greenville National Bank, whom Jasenski says has helped him fill in a lot of gaps in his information about various events.
“I’m looking at it through local eyes,” Martin said. “I think it’s important that we hit all the local resources that are available.”
In the meantime, Jasenski continually combs sites like Facebook for information about new events being posted. He also offers advertising on the site for local companies, currently charging $25 a month for a single ad.
“Our long-term hope is to duplicate this resource for other counties in the region,” Jasenski said. “And maybe have the sites sponsored by local nonprofits.”
He also said that the site is a work in progress, with certain aspects continuing to evolve as they go along.
“Our philosophy has always been start before you’re ready,” Jasenski said. “We learn more on our feet in business than we do when we try to plan things out, because things never go according to plan.”
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com
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