Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Support student athletes

Believe it or not, it is "that" time of year again. You know, the time of year when it's hot out, the birds are singing, anglers are angling, hikers are hiking, bikers are biking and our student athletes are off to such places as wrestling, football, volleyball and soccer camps. These young people put it all on the line for you, the spectator. Risking great peril these young gladiators work hard, all year (yes, they can often be seen at the YMCA, trying to "build" that competitive advantage) for you.

I have two sons currently in the athletic program at WRHS, and another son and daughter soon to follow. My oldest, Branden, has decided to forego the ritualistic frolicking about of his summer vacation, and has instead decided to cramp the vacation plans of the rest of us by throwing in the proverbial "monkey wrench" so that he can take full advantage of the training available to him through the school, of which he loves to be a part.

On the one hand, my thought is "Drat! I wanted to go have some fun this summer," but on the other hand I have to consider that end to which he is headed. Do you know anyone who has grown up regretting that decision of building character, as a teen, for themselves or of being a part of something more than just themselves? Ya, me either.

In fact, as I look around our little community, I can't help but notice that our business owners, law enforcement, fire fighters, elected officials and others whom we rely on and look to for help and or advice are predominantly former HS athletes or musicians or drama club members (I'm sure that I have left out someone...sorry) as well.

My point is that these, and other programs like them, have been building leaders and responsible citizens for many years now. Should we not do all that we can to help them in their quest to better themselves? I should think so.

It, however, is a poverty that so many more of our young people would participate if they could. It is not exactly cheap to pay for camp, equipment, meals, travel and all of the other hidden costs associated with these activities. I personally know of three students who are in this predicament, and I really don't know very many students.

So my thought was to simply sponsor these three would-be athletes and hope that others would do the same for even more. The inherent problem with this line of thinking is that so many of these young adults will not say anything to us about their personal situation, thereby leaving them out of these important and life changing activities.

As a small business owner, I often encounter challenges that only I can solve, since I have no one else to consult with, but this one is a little daunting an undertaking for one person to conquer on one's own. So I have reverted back to those things that I learned as a student athlete and have decided to say "Hey, team! Let's help them to help themselves." I mean really, they are desirous to participate, this is an investment opportunity for us. They will be running our community very soon.

So, Snow Country Window Cleaning ("Names and Numbers") is going to step up to the plate and offer forth a pledge, followed by a challenge.

The Pledge: We will, for the summer months, for ANY windows that we clean, donate to the WRHS athletic department, the full value of the exterior window cleaning (up to one-third total bill). You can increase your gift if you so desire, but this way you will still be getting as well as giving.

The challenge: Come on team! Let's get creative. What can each of us do? Join us in our pledge to do something to help these young people to help themselves, and in return you will be helping yourself as well.

My hope is that ALL Students who wish to participate will have the opportunity to do so, and instead of worrying about how they will pay for the activity, will rather work to be the best at their event.

I should note that the event that was really the catalyst for this entry occurred a few weeks ago. It was a very cool and rainy day, not many people out, and there were three college age ladies, sitting under umbrellas, selling baked goods and lemonade. When asked what was the purpose of the sale they simply said "To hopefully get us to college."

I have no idea who these three are, but I thank them for doing "something" to help themselves.

Steve Condon


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