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“Growing Together”
August 20, 2008


Much as we dreaded it school finally started this week. After a slow start everyone at our house got off in plenty of time.

I love to go to school the first day. Just walking around seeing how fresh everything is and organized it makes me appreciate the school staff and how hard they work for our kids to make school a great place to be. The classrooms are inviting and the teachers greet the kids by name. Each desk is labeled with a name so the kids feel like they are home. The kids squeal and shriek because some haven’t seen each other since May. The kids are taller, tanner, and all smiles. Some kids took advantage of the breakfast and chowed down on cereal and toast. They gathered in the gym to swap summer stories.



Bradly Cunningham has agreed to work as often as we’ll let him as long as he can fit it into his schedule. He is from South Bend and attends school in Louisville. We met him at the fair last week as he was helping man the D.A.R.E. booth. We couldn’t help but notice how he would fit in with our team. What do you think?

Talk about beautiful weather! It was a perfect weekend to water the tomatoes. That’s what FM Bykerk was doing Saturday with the help of her granddaughter, Allie.


1st Ever Skate/Dodge @ the Flying Wheels is a HIT!!!

We’ve substituted the traditional skate/dance with a skate/dodge. During a skate/dance we skate until 10ish then dance until midnight. Once we started playing dodgeball at the rink dancing went out the window! We did slip a little cha cha slide in for them though. Now we skate until 9:30ish and then play dodgeball until midnight. Midnight wasn’t enough for them. We started with about seventy people for the first dodgeball game. And then they just kept coming! We had parents coming to pick up their kids and staying for dodgeball! Midnight came and went and they just kept dodging, ducking, diving, dipping and dodging. We tried to shut them down but they were pretty persuasive. If you had kids here and they were late getting home I apologize but they were having so much fun we couldn’t stop!

About 1:30 as we were finally getting the game shut down we noticed a car outside with two young men getting into it. They obviously had just stopped to get a pop out of the machine at Big Dan’s. They were also obviously stoned. I know what “sober but tired” looks like and I know what drunk looks like…this was neither. We still had about 10 kids inside and we were all looking at them in disbelief. It is not something we see every day. The two boys must not have appreciated us watching them because one flipped us the bird as they drove off. I handed Millie the keys and told her to lock the doors. Then I reached for the phone. The kids asked if I was calling the sheriff. Yes, I told them. I didn’t want those two out on the road. I had at least four kids grabbing their cell phones offering to look up the sheriff department’s phone number while two others just rattled it off for me. I was impressed. I think we have future officers in the making here. The kids had the license plate number so we were able to turn that over to the dispatcher. I don’t know what became of the situation and I don’t want to know. We made sure the coast was clear before we left. It really made me think though…we had about 60 kids and 20 adults having a great time Saturday night and a lot were high school age kids. Some were kids that you used to see walking the streets causing trouble. And here they are now throwing balls at each other instead of rocks at windows. They could so easily still be out there causing trouble. Those other two boys could so easily have come to play dodgeball instead of doing drugs. I am so thankful that we can give the kids a place to go, an alternative to getting in trouble. I wish we could reach more and convince them they can have fun without drugs or alcohol. We support D.A.R.E. and the G.R.E.A.T. programs and encourage the kids to make the right choices. I am so proud of the kids who were with us Saturday night and their reaction to what we witnessed. They were appalled, scared, and indignant. So if your kid was late getting home Saturday night and they were with us at the rink…you should give them a hug and send them again next week, don’t ground them…you’ve got good kids.

Speaking of late nights at the rink…because of the great response to Saturday night we have decided to make a change to our schedule. On Saturday nights if we have at least ten people who are seventh grade and above who want to stay longer we will stay open until 11:45 for them. This will give the ones who drive time to get home before midnight. If there aren’t at least ten then we will close as usual. We will ask that the younger kids go home as usual. This will allow the older kids a chance to play dodgeball, dance, or just hang out with their friends. And it isn’t just teens that are welcome to hang out. Adults have been enjoying skating and dodgeball, too. So come on down and give it a shot…if you dare. J

You may notice a party happening at the rink this Friday night. You may have seen some signs around town about Jarad. The party is for Jarad. Jarad if originally from Auburn and he is the son of a close friend of mine. They live in Omaha now but are still an important part of our lives. Jarad is terminal with cancer and has only weeks to live. He is twenty. Jarad is an awesome kid and doesn’t deserve this. What he does deserve is a huge party. Last year there was a fundraiser in Auburn for him that helped out with the bills. He wasn’t able to attend because he was too sick. Now he has created a list of things he wants to do before he kicks the bucket…his bucket list. He took a trip to Worlds of Fun with his high school buddies. He and his family took a trip to Disney World last week. He is going skydiving next week. And he wants a party. So we are having a party and inviting all of his friends, his family, and anyone who wants to come. Jarad is the nephew of Tim and Kathy Dettmann of Avoca. Even if you don’t know Jarad you are welcome to come and have fun. There will be skating, dodgeball, hayrack rides (weather permitting), and food. We will be taking a free will offering to help finance Jarad’s bucket list and once the food is gone the concession stand will be open with all proceeds going to Jarad. But the purpose of the party is not fundraising. It is to show Jarad that he is loved and even though we can’t fight his battle for him we will be there for him. I am sure that you have known someone in a similar battle who may have won or lost so you know what I am talking about. It is unfair. But Jarad is too busy celebrating life to focus on how unfair it is.

So if you drive by Friday night on your way to the soap scrimmage and wonder what is going on at the rink…that’s what it is…we are celebrating life. Jarad’s life and our own…because we can.

Come by after the game for a little celebration and some dodgeball!

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain

Go out and make some memories!


Julie Anderson


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