On Saturday June 18, a few high level kids and a couple boarding school students participated in a community service project. This included TJ, Alex Day, Aly, Seth, Matt, and me. I first heard about this opportunity from Jen, the math tutor. She gave me the number for the man, Jeff, who ran it and it was all smooth sailing from there. The reason for the project was to clean up river banks along the Duchesne River. Our first stop was a parking lot that was placed next to a large amount of land. We all spread out across the land and picked up all the trash. Normally, projects like this are not my cup of tea. Fortunately, it was a nice day and I was ready to have fun and enjoy the work I was doing. We made the best out of it. While we were cleaning up the lot, Matt and I saw something shiny up on a hill. We knew it was trash so we raced to the top. I am not proud to say that I couldn’t keep up with him. On the way up we found some treasure. It was a huge piece of styrofoam! When we got back to the bottom of the hill, Matt practiced his front snap kick and wrecked the piece of Styrofoam…after a couple tries. After cleaning up the lot we headed for the river. I was expecting lots of trash but there wasn’t much at all. It was nice to just walk along the river. What wasn’t nice was hearing Kimberly tell TJ a hundred times that he couldn’t jump in. I understand though, it’s in his Coloradoan genes. After walking back to the cars we took pictures and went searching for a new place to clean up. We drove for about a half hour before Jeff told us he was unsure of where he was going. We decided to let it go and part ways. Then it was off to Canton City, so we thought. Kimberly thought it would be funny to play a joke on us and tell us that the plans were changing, we were going back to Cedar Ridge to eat in the cafeteria. Luckily, Kimberly is a big jokester and only wanted to get a rise out of us. So we continued on to our journey to Canton City for a nice sit down meal.
This community service project was different for me than all the other ones I’ve done since I’ve been here. This has been the first time that it was actually about helping the community rather than just getting a school item. I believe part of the reason is because I organized it and therefore was more dedicated to the project. In past service projects that I have participated in there has often been a payoff of something sweet. I didn’t want students to sign up for that reason. I asked students who wanted to participate but did not tell them the plan for going to Canton City. I found that the people who went had a certain motivation that I do not always see. I feel that they were in it for the right reasons. I believe that this gives the projects more meaning. It was important for me to recognize that the emotional payoff it had was much greater than the materialistic payoffs that can sometimes come from it. The payoff I got from it lasts a lot longer than a soda or an ice cream bar. When expecting to be rewarded for something you do, you are only concentrating on that reward while taking part in the activity. When the reward is unexpected it is far more satisfying. The students were very pleased to hear that Canton City was part of the plan. This community service project gave me the motivation to start planning my next one and I can’t wait to see the outcome.
Written by Shelby