Ruri-teens having fun, making a difference

First Posted: 8/15/2009

PILOT MOUNTAIN Youth is being recognized in a local Ruritan club, as a group of younger members are being encouraged to undertake their own projects with the entire clubs support and recognition behind them.
Members of the South Westfield Ruritan Club had watched with pride as their youths consistently undertook vital roles in various Club community projects, often helping with a dedication that challenged adult members to meet their enthusiastic drive. Last year, club members decided to recognize the young people with their own sub-organization and the South Westfield Ruri-teens were created.
We saw that they were always coming to meetings and helping, noted South Westfield Ruritan Louanne Hunter. We decided they needed their own club where they could organize their own projects and see the benefits of their work.
The Ruri-teen program is an established offering of the Ruritan National organization but was new to the club and its members.
The fledgling South Westfield group began with four members, all the children of adult Ruritans. The enthusiastic group has since grown to seven members and should continue to grow as youths are now actively recruiting friends to join them. The group is open to any young person between the ages of 7 and 19.
Their efforts are being helped by the support of the club. The parent club pays Ruritan dues for each youth and commits funding to send Ruri-teens to a weekend camp each summer in late July at Smith Mountain Lake in Writz, Va. The activities-filled weekend focuses on team building and teaching teens to help others while being active in their community and showing patriotism to their country.
The Ruri-teen group has also been busy at home, continuing to take part in Ruritan activities while also hosting their own projects. One such project is to adopt a local soldier serving overseas, gathering much needed supplies and treats which are then shipped to the soldier. The group has also taken a large role in quarterly community trash pick-ups. Future projects include a lemonade stand and bake sale later this month, with proceeds to help those with need in the community.
Its gone well, Hunter said. They can take pride in what theyre doing. Theyre excited by what theyve been able to accomplish and the recognition theyve received. They feel like theyre doing something in their community and theyre enjoying it.
Nine-year-old Bethany Hunter, one of the groups younger members, agreed with her mother.
I like being able to help people and to help the environment, she explained. And I love going to camp. It can be work but its fun.
Her sister, 12-year-old Madyson Hunter agreed. This is a good way for us to be involved in our community. And the projects for the soldiers let us help meet their needs. They dont have stores where they can run out and get what they need.
Once you become a Ruritan, Madyson continued, you never want to stop. When you can do something for somebody else, it makes you feel good. We all enjoy doing this together and we know were helping.
For more information on the program or on becoming a Ruri-teen, Louanne Hunter may be reached at 351-2068.

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