Mike Clifford Posted August 10, 2008 Report Share Posted August 10, 2008 The day's activities behind the scenes started one year ago, just days after the First Annual Military Kids Day. The professionalism that goes into planning 4 hours of jam-packed outdoors fun for these kids shows from the minute one steps on the grounds. Like clockwork, dozens of volunteers in yellow shirts, ISA shirts and plain old t-shirts descend upon these grounds right after sun-up and go over every detail briefly, and then "work" begins in earnest. What's really amazing is that I didn't hear a single person call it "work" the entire day. Every volunteer I spoke with thanked US for inviting them to be a part of it all. Anything that anyone needed was standing a few feet away, among the swarm of volunteers treating every kid like royalty. I have attended and hosted many kids fishing days, and nothing compares to this in my experiences. The small things- from the personalized nametag for every person that stepped on the grounds (kids and volunteers alike), to the "earth-friendly" goodie bags, lunch that was fast, efficient and damn good to boot....and all the little things that personalized the day for every participant- those are the result of so many dedicated individuals. Too many to count. The stories I heard from people coming from various stations were life stories unfolding before my eyes. One gentleman related that of his 4 kids, 3 of them had never caught a fish before today, and proceeded to show me photos on his camera of a couple huge catfish! His other daughter had fished quite a bit before and caught none. We had a good laugh about it, and he just shook his head in amazement that we do so much for these kids and thanked us from his heart. On 3 separate occasions today, I was approached by people telling me that the ISA group of volunteers is the most polite, patient, respectful and accommodating group they have ever seen. The pride this group exhibited was exemplary, without question. All of this happens because of all of you. Look inside yourselves and know you did a good thing for a great many people today. A heartfelt thanks goes out to each and every one of you. Of course, the video is on the way. (The long path I've taken to this place is hard to explain, but the emotion is very real on this day. I'm wearing sunglasses in that photo for a reason.) My impromptu speech was not planned as it came at the last second, but it came from the heart. Felt the need to finish with the following... "Nothing but a child could wash these tears away Or guide a weary world into the light of day And nothing but a child could help erase these miles So once again we all can be children for awhile " Indeed, if only for a while. We'll be mentoring again next weekend at the State Fair in the Lt. Governor's tent. The education doesn't end with the seasons, it just keeps rolling. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.