Mitchell Strack, a young man in Boy Scout Troop 55, wanted to become an Eagle Scout and he wanted to give back to his community. Willard Community Center was his first choice to benefit from his efforts. "The Community Center has given a great deal to me. I used to go here for day care and now I go here for Boy Scouts so when I was trying to think of an Eagle Scout Project Willard was the first place to come to mind that way I could finally give back " said Mitchell. He organized an amazing group of fellow scouts, scout leaders and adult volunteers to help him meet his requirements for the honor of Eagle Scout. He determined that his project would be to improve the entrance to the Willard Community Center to make it more welcoming and inviting. He saw that the walls in the front stairway were looking drab and the plaster needed repair so he took it upon himself to get the project underway. He determined what was needed, filled out the Eagle Scout paperwork and got his project approved.
Mitchell has been involved with the Boy Scouts at the Willard Community Center since he was in grade school so he was deeply committed to becoming an Eagle Scout. When asked why he wanted to become an Eagle Scout he said,"When I first joined Scouts they told me that only 5% of Scouts become Eagle Scouts. It was then that I knew I was going to become one. Over the past seven years in scouting I have strived to do my best to lead and better myself so that one day I could earn the prestigious title."
The last two Sundays in April were work days for Mitchell, Troop 55, and the volunteers. The first Sunday they scraped off old paint and plaster, patched the holes and sanded the walls smooth. The second Sunday they taped, primed and painted the stairwell from floor to ceiling from the basement to second floor. This project has made the entrance to Willard so clean and inviting. Willard Community Center wants to thank Mitchell, his family, his fellow scouts and volunteers for their hard work and a job well done.
Troop 55 - Tim Amen, Aaron Boilesen, Ryan Binge, Levi Nielsen, Josh Sterns, Eric Schwartman and Mitchell Strack.
Adult volunteers - Joe Binge, Chris Boilesen, Carl Clark, Eric Clark, Sharon Clark, Kevin Schwartman, and Jeremy Strack.
Donors for the project - Carl Clark, Erik Clark, Sharon Clark, Charlie Strack and Linda Strack.
Kari Rose surprised the preschool teachers by handing them a Lakeshore Learning catalog and telling them that they could make a wish list of anything they wanted. She told them that the funding was coming from Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial. Kari works for Modern Woodmen and wears many hats for the organization. Modern Woodmen is a local not for profit financial planning organization. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for their members by supporting: quality family life, community impact, and financial security. Yes, financial planning is what they do but giving back to the community is where their hearts are! Last year alone Kari’s region in Nebraska gave back just shy of $800,000.00 to the community in several forms. This year they are shooting for One Million.
Kari brings her son, Collin, to Willard’s full time preschool every day and wanted to be able to provide new educational experiences and manipulatives for the children. She asked one of the Woodmen chapters and one Woodmen youth group if they would donate. They generously agreed. Kari and her fiancé’, Brad Velder, drove to Omaha and purchased a water table, book shelf, pillow sit up-ons, and a great variety of items for the preschool children. The new items have brought so much joy and excitement to the children. In total Modern Woodmen donated over $860.00 to complete the Willard wish list.
“Basically, we have 50 chapters and 13 Youth clubs throughout the state; I run 7 of those chapters and 1 Youth club on the side from working for the company. Each club and chapter holds anywhere from 50-500 of our members (depends on demographic location). The members, along with the Activities Coordinator, determine how their chapter funds will be used. Since Willard is where my children go, I thought of you guys as helping schools and educational facilities is a favorite with the members:). Each chapter and club has $1,000 to use in the community, $2,500.00 in matching funds, $100 to recognize a Hero in their community (that hero gets to donate a check of $100 to a cause of their choice), and so much more. We also have FREE educational materials that private schools, daycares, educational facilities, YMCA's, and youth clubs order for their kids. These materials are certified materials and are simply offered because we chose education as our FREE gift to the communities. Our company is nationwide, our office just represents Nebraska's community. As a company in 2016 we gave over 21 million dollars back to local communities and hope to of course beat that number every year. A lot of what our company does and why it exists is hard for people to believe or wrap their head around.” Kari passionately explained.
Thank you, Kari and Modern Woodmen, for making a positive impact on the education of the preschool children at the Willard Community Center. We are so thankful for your generosity.
The 2016 Willard Christmas Airplane Session was carried out on December 29th at the Willard Community Center. Jim Baker, Jack Barry and his son-in-law Jesse Williams and Allan Worrest led the session with help from the Willard staff. About fifty kids of grade-school age built and flew FPG-9 gliders. Jim started the session with his enthusiastic introduction to aircraft. Through give and take discussion, he instructed the kids how an airplane is controlled in flight. In the past we had the kids build paper airplanes. This year we tried something new. The Academy of Model Aeronautics’ website listed the FPG-9 as an appropriate model for all ages. The glider’s name reflects its construction. It is made from a nine-inch diameter foam plate. To ensure that everyone, including the youngest, would complete the glider in the allotted time and have time to fly them, the glider pattern was drawn on the plates before the start of the session. Instead of relying on a precise fit, which is asking a bit much of some of the youngsters, the rudder/vertical stabilizer was hot glued to the airframe. The gliders flew as well as the paper gliders made in the past. The mess incurred during the construction was about the same as well.
Janelle Soderling, Willard’s Executive director sent the following email afterwards. - A.W. Hi Allan, I have tried to call you a few times but I just get a busy signal so I thought that I would just email you. The kids had a lot of fun making and flying the airplanes. They are always open to new things and they love to have the Airplane Club come and teach them all about flying. I really appreciate your club continuing to do this for us. It is always such a highlight during the Christmas break. We usually can't go outside much so this indoor activity is always a great activity for them to get up and get moving around and having fun. Thanks again for getting your club to volunteer their time and talent.
The Willard Community Center would like to recognize and celebrate the life of JoAnn Templeton, 80, who passed away May 11, 2016. JoAnn will always be remembered as being a very giving person who loved her family, church, neighborhood, and the Willard Community Center. JoAnn requested that half of the memorials from her funeral be given to Willard Community Center which amounted to $480.00. The real surprise and gift came later when the family discovered a Certificate of Deposit that listed “Willard” as the beneficiary. That CD valued $5,416.39 for a total gift to Willard of $5,896.39. She was a part of the Willard family and this community her whole life and we are grateful that she made arrangements to help Willard even after her passing.
JoAnn was born August 16, 1935 in Lincoln, NE to Ford and Cora (Revis) Templeton. JoAnn grew up in the West “A” neighborhood and lived most of her life in a house that was built by her father. JoAnn attended grade school at Willard School at 1245 Folsom Street, currently the Willard Community Center.
JoAnn was a regular bingo participant at Willard Community Center and was known for her love of holidays. JoAnn would make special treats or share holiday goodies with all of the bingo players and the staff. She even made homemade counted cross stitch items for gifts. JoAnn also participated in monthly pot luck lunches and special activities and events held at Willard. JoAnn’s smiling face will be dearly missed at the Willard Community Center.
October 9th was a beautiful fall day. Perfect golf weather for the 108 golfers that participated in the tournament this year. Many mulligans were purchased with the hopes of winning a donated putter. Many raffle tickets were dropped in bags for prizes that caught everyone’s attention and many golfers signed up for the putting contest to try to win a cash prize. The dress up hole and the drop hole were also popular and fun activities. At the end of the day the golf tournament raised $14,000.00 for the Willard Teen Program to provide scholarships for the teen before and after school program for Park Middle School students.
Kohl’s Department Store was a promoter of our tournament and recruited four eager volunteers that helped serve hot dogs and assisted with the silent auction prizes. Weslee and Benjamin Stewart, Kelli Stokke and Jilian Beeck worked non-stop for 3 hours which qualified us to receive a cash grant from Kohl’s. Traditionally the grant is for $500.00 but for this month only they are granting qualified agencies to receive $1500.00. Yea! Thank You volunteers and Kohl’s!
Thank you to the Gardner Family who so generously help and support this tournament in memory of their beloved husband and father, Kenny Gardner. Your loyalty and dedication to this tournament has brought in $137,671.00 over the last 12 years for the teen program. Kenny’s life motto, “It Was Fun!” echoes the positive energy, laughter, and fun that everyone has at this tournament every year.
Thank you to our tournament sponsors; Hoy & Associates Construction Inc., Inspro Insurance, and Lincoln Auto Auction. Thanks also to the volunteers, Willard Board of Directors and everyone that participated this year. We hope to see you all back again next year.
Lincoln Industries has again helped the Willard Community Center shine like the brightest star in the neighborhood. Six employees came to Willard the morning of September 30th and in 3 short hours they had cleaned up and spruced up the outside entrance and grounds.
Thank you Joe Bennett, John Jarecki, Noah Kaylor, Todd Lewis, John Mettett, and Jeremy Miller for giving us your time and talent. These guys painted the stairs with a non-skid paint and marked the stairs and parking lots with yellow stripes. They cleaned all the weeds out of the fence and cut back the old flowers and shrubs. They even had time to repaint the 4-square games for the kids.
Many hands make light work and we are grateful that Lincoln Industries supports their employees to do community service projects for the Willard Community Center.