Archive for Thursday, February 13, 2003

Volunteers provide great memories

Selfless giving rewards all in time

February 13, 2003

Someone once wrote "All I need to know, I learned in kindergarten," but there's something to be said of parents, friends and quality leadership joining together to shape young minds in the community.

Cub Scouts from De Soto's Pack 3054 participated at the annual Pinewood Derby race last week, with some taking top honors.

Oh, what great memories I have from being a young Cub Scout.

Memory is a great instant replay. I remember working with my dad in his shop with a space heater on high and determination in full in the cold of winter. When I got my Pinewood Derby kit, I didn't know what to expect. At that point in my life, I was really into model cars and expected the process of making a Pinewood Derby racer to be nothing more than following some simple directions. I opened the box, discovering a plain block of wood, some nails, and four plain black plastic circles to be used as wheels.

I remember thinking, "This is going to be harder than I thought."

Fortunately for me, my dad knew a little something about cars. Sure, he spent some time at a Vo-Tech school learning how to reassemble engines, but this block of wood ... I just wasn't sure. He soon put my fears to rest.

With a pencil, my dad and I sketched out what would be the design for the lightning-fast racer. He cut the form then showed me how to sand the car's body, the design of which sure to be purchased by a well-known auto maker, and I began the laborious process of shaping my racer to its aerodynamic form. I sanded; he oversaw my work. I picked out the colors; he taught me how to spray paint with safety and precision. After a few nights in the shop my racer was done, and I was ready to take on my opponents.

A local church provided a room big enough to house the large wooden racetrack while parents and other volunteers joined to help make the event one to remember.

Sadly, my car was too light. Oh sure, it was great looking, but it needed a little more weight to work with gravity's pull on the sloped race track.

It didn't matter that I won or lost -- I was a winner anyway. I received a great experience of one of many fond memories I have of my dad (whom I now call pops just because it annoys him). Making that car wasn't just his effort, and it wasn't all mine -- we spent time together, the older and wiser instructing the younger novice. But most importantly, it helped strengthen a bond.

This kind of action is not limited to a father and son. In this community, there are plenty of organizations needing volunteers willing to give their time and dedication for selfless deeds. The Johnson County Area Agency on Aging needs volunteers for the De Soto Catch-A-Ride and Meals on Wheels programs. The De Soto Multi-Service Center and the De Soto Senior Nutrition Center could always use volunteers. Of course there are always local scouts who could benefit from the help of those willing to take a little bit of time to give back to their community.

So if you're thinking of ways you can give back to the community, I'm sure you'll get back much more in personal rewards than you except by by volunteering your time.

Your volunteerism will not go unnoticed and definitely not unappreciated.

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