Guiding Star to hold fun night July 26

Kelli Norton, board chair of Guiding Star Orange City, sits outside the nonprofit’s Family Comfort Station at the Tulip Festival earlier this year. The nonprofit organization is preparing for its annual family fun night and public board meeting Monday, July 26, in Windmill Park.

ORANGE CITY—Guiding Star Orange City is still hunting for a new physical site to call home, although in the meantime the organization has not been idle or wavered from its mission.

The nonprofit, which provides comprehensive Women’s Health Care Services, will hold its annual Family Fun Night and public board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, July 26, in Windmill Park.

The yearly shindig in the Sioux County community did not happen last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is why executive director Kaleigh Van Middendorp was excited it would be back this year.

“It’s one of our favorite events of the year because we get to interact with members of the community who maybe have never heard of us before, all our clients and donors and service partners,” Van Middendorp.

The event will be free to attend and will feature bounce houses courtesy of Orange City-based Backyard Bounce as well as a tick-tack-toe board crafting activity and ice cream to enjoy.

The nonprofit’s board meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. in the shelter house, and Middendorp said the public would be welcome to hang around for that. The meeting will include an update on the organization’s fiscal year statistics, an annual budget report and a rundown of the services Guiding Star provided over the past year.

The board also will discuss the organization’s strategic plan for the next three-five years.

“Everyone is invited to ask questions as well, and a lot of our service partners will be there,” Van Middendorp said.

Guiding Star previously was located on Orange City’s Albany Avenue although it had to shutter its doors in October due to insufficient funds to keep paying rent and other bills. However, the nonprofit has continued to offer services to clients remotely.

“The only services we haven’t been able to continue offering, obviously, are our ultrasounds and pregnancy tests,” Van Middendorp said.

Otherwise, things such as women’s health education classes, support group meetings and pregnancy care consultations have been conducted virtually during the pandemic. Van Middendorp said the latter has been an especially convenient option for some new moms, since it means they did not have to leave their house while with their baby.

The nonprofit also has continued its breast-pump delivery service to nursing mothers in the region.

“Our local hospitals in Sioux Center or Orange City will call us when they have a mom in need of one, so we’ve been delivering breast pumps fairly frequently actually, which has been a great service to the community,” Van Middendorp said.

It has been able to resume holding Cycle Shows, which are educational, interactive, multimedia fertility awareness workshops for girls ages 9-13 aimed at educating them about changes related to puberty. The next Cycle Show in Orange City is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Guiding Star has been raising funds since October in anticipation of finding a new physical location where it can set up shop. Van Middendorp said it has been looking at different places and was hopeful it would find a suitable spot in the next couple of months.

When it eventually does reopen in a new home, the nonprofit also will rebrand itself as Guiding Star Siouxland to better reflect the broader area it serves.

“We love Orange City. Orange City will always be our home — and we’re looking for locations there too — but we’ll change our name officially when we reopen to Guiding Star Siouxland,” Van Middendorp said.