The giving spirit of volunteers can bypass age, prejudices, and even personal grief. A case in point is Wayne Smith, one of many local poster “children” for community service and volunteerism.
I don’t mean to make today’s column about Smith, but regardless of his 87 years, his political points of view and the loss of his beloved wife, Gloria in 2015, Smith has picked up the pieces, gathered the wisdom of experience and aims to keep Joslyn Adult Recreation Center’s (JARC) finances in the black today and into the future.
Like many of Cambria’s older volunteers, Smith falls under the headline of a recent Pew Trust report about the importance of elders in society, Citing , founded by Nelson Mandela, the essay’s author explains, “In traditional societies, elders always had a role in conflict resolution, long-term decision-making, and applying wisdom where it was needed; now in our global village, we need our global elders.”
Locally, we can use the decades of learning and wisdom building by our local “Elders” who volunteer to help resolve somewhat complex financial issues of properties like the Joslyn Adult Recreation Center.
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However, Smith is likely the last person to claim Nelson Mandela status. As a matter of fact, he said, “As I was coming out of the grief from Gloria’s death, I swear I heard her come at me from the other side and say, ‘Wayne, you can mope around the house, or you can go out and do something.’” A wise man does not argue with his wife, no matter what side of life she may inhabit.
The approximate 25-year resident said, “Cambria gave Gloria and I a wonderful life. We were both active in the clubs at the Joslyn, and I have a long history with the Lions and Pinedorado, so when asked if I would serve the center’s board of directors, I said yes because it was time to pay it forward.” Now Smith serves as JARC’s board president.
JARC, a 501(c)4, has an interesting history intertwined with Cambria’s historical families and the Lions Club of Cambria. As opposed to misinterpreting the “corporal evidence” of the property’s lineage, I sourced JARC’s website that states that it was launched in 1949 by the Lions Club of Cambria as a recreational facility. Essential legal designations and ownership transfers progressed over the years. And still, Cambrians are invited to join one or more of the 20 different clubs that meet on the grounds. When one joins a club, there is an annual membership fee of $50, which helps maintain and facilitate the property’s expenses.
The current list of clubs offers something for just about anyone. The clubs include bridge, film, the Cambria Forum, chorale, computer, couples dance, Dancercize, fishing, inner rhythm, investment, lawn bowls, mah jongg, poker, two writer groups, dance and drum, pinochle and table tennis. Who said there’s nothing to do in Cambria?
The bylaws require that members be 18 or older. New clubs are welcome if they meet the qualification of “any group of five or more center members with common social, recreational or education interest or goal,” and are approved by JARC board of directors.
Smith noted that the board of directors wishes to step up JARC’s volunteer corps.
“We have a small list of five or six members that do minor maintenance and repair chores as needed. Each club is asked to clean the outdoors one month out of the year. That’s about as far as we have gone on volunteer help with maintenance. Since we use the facility constantly, major and some minor issues have to be resolved in a timely manner, and (that) usually requires someone with professional credentials. We have asked our club presidents to inquire about volunteers with skills amongst their membership, and that effort is headed up by Craig (Rusty) Heyne. He can be contacted through the Joslyn front office at 805-927-3364.”
Next month, By the Way We Give will explore the volunteer efforts by clubs operating out of JARC.