What Are Your “Little Platoons” Up To?

 

volunteersExploring the differences between the various factions on the Right is one of our favorite pastimes on Ricochet.  Libertarians vs. SoCons.  Establishment vs. Tea Partiers.  Everyone vs. Mike Murphy!

But deep as these divisions go, all conservatives agree that society best organizes itself from the bottom-up and that the most interesting and important stuff happens at the bottom.  Individuals, families, churches, and organizations aren’t just part of society, they’re what society is about and what it’s for.  They don’t need to be coordinated or corralled toward some singular purpose defined by the government, nor do they exist at its pleasure.  Rightly understood, government’s purpose is to provide the basic infrastructure and rules necessary to allow its citizens to live, work, trade, and self-organize and then to get out of the way so they can get about life’s real business.

So what (non-political) little platoons are you part of and what are they up to?  I’ve managed to miss the last few meetings, but I’ve been involved with South Shore Astronomical Society, on and off, for a number of years.  Besides giving enthusiasts a place to geek-out at lengths that might otherwise endanger domestic peace — though it serves that function, too — the group provides free educational programs for families, camps, and scouting organizations.  There’s nothing more fun than showing someone the Galilean Moons, the rings of Saturn, or the Hercules Cluster for the first time, and knowing that you’re giving parents something fun and edifying for the whole family for the price of of gas money is incredibly gratifying.  I’ve also been a co-leader with the Appalachian Mountain Club, though it’s been a few years since I last led a hike.

My wife’s efforts are far more impressive and substantive.  Through our church, she’s helped organize multiple fundraisers for human trafficking victims and launched an awareness campaign in our city on the subject.  More impressively yet, she designed, wrote, and taught a multi-session program for recent graduates on the basics of resume-writing, professionalism, and how to build useful and remunerative carer.  Its second series starts up next month.

Many Ricochet members live even busier lives yet somehow get even more done, and have even organized to help each other.  What’s keeping you and your communities busy?

Image Credit: Flickr user Daniel Thornton.

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  1. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    September 19-21 is Tootsie Roll weekend for Knights Of Columbus councils in Illinois. In exchange for your donation to help various organizations which serve the intellectually disabled (usually local organizations) you’ll receive at least one Tootsie Roll – the large size ones. I’m the chairman for my council’s efforts and I’ll be out and about all weekend, so if you’re near the I-55 and Harlem area stop by and say hello. More importantly, look for the guys in the yellow aprons and drop some change into the bucket.

    • #1
  2. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    I’m also the cubmaster for the parish cub scout pack, and our new year gets going right about now. This weekend we’re attending the fishing derby. Of all the kids and adults participating, I believe my son and I are the only ones who’ve been fishing before. So I expect to be hopelessly tangled in hopelessly tangled fishing line most of the day. My wife is coming along so that someone will be sure to cut me loose before they all go home. I hope so, anyway.

    • #2
  3. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    Right now because of my job and kids the only things I really have time to be involved with, is with my kids school and church (which is attached to the school). I’d like to do more but maybe when the kids are older, I can do more fun stuff.
    My sister and brother in law are planning on doing a Harry Dresden podcast maybe I can be a frequent guest.

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    You mean apart from Ricochet? (:

    And don’t forget that in addition to “Individuals, families, churches, and organizations” one very important component of voluntary civil society is free markets.

    • #4
  5. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Edited.

    • #5
  6. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    genferei:

    And don’t forget that in addition to “Individuals, families, churches, and organizations” one very important component of voluntary civil society is free markets.

    Absolutely true!  I missed it there (though I did earlier say that society is where “citizens to live, work, trade, and self-organize.”)

    • #6
  7. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom, since you’re a telescope guy, maybe you can give me some advice. My wife bought me a lovely telescope some years ago which I enjoy tinkering with every so often. However, my eyepiece is basic and not very powerful, but my budget and seriousness are even more basic. Can you recommend a versatile yet relatively inexpensive upgrade eyepiece?

    • #7
  8. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Among my relatives, recently… 

    A mother took her joyful, amiable little girl to a hospital to give hugs to patients. 

    A man arranged and payed for a ramp to be built at an old friend’s home, so that the friend could more easily go in and out with a wheelchair. 

    A man entertained a group of people with Alzheimer’s at his church, so that their caretakers could have a little respite. 

    Litter was picked up from a roadside trail. 

    A family forever plagued by financial and psychological troubles is privately supported (not through a program) by a more fortunate family. 

    Children were educated through experience on field trips. No permission slips. No schedules. 

    A lot can be done by individuals, independently.

    • #8
  9. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Ed G.:

    Tom, since you’re a telescope guy, maybe you can give me some advice. My wife bought me a lovely telescope some years ago which I enjoy tinkering with every so often. However, my eyepiece is basic and not very powerful, but my budget and seriousness are even more basic. Can you recommend a versatile yet relatively inexpensive upgrade eyepiece?

    Happy to, but it depends.

    1. What kind of telescope do you have and what are its optics.  If you don’t have a model name, what’s its aperture and its f-ratio?
    2. Are you planning to do deep-sky stuff, or stuff like the planets, the moon, and maybe some of the bigger/closer objects?

    If we can get anonymous in here, he’s probably way more knowledgeable than me.

    • #9
  10. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Ed G.:

    Tom, since you’re a telescope guy, maybe you can give me some advice. My wife bought me a lovely telescope some years ago which I enjoy tinkering with every so often. However, my eyepiece is basic and not very powerful, but my budget and seriousness are even more basic. Can you recommend a versatile yet relatively inexpensive upgrade eyepiece?

    Happy to, but it depends.

    What kind of telescope do you have and what are its optics. If you don’t have a model name, what’s its aperture and its f-ratio?
    Are you planning to do deep-sky stuff, or stuff like the planets, the moon, and maybe some of the bigger/closer objects?

    If we can get anonymous in here, he’s probably way more knowledgeable than me.

     I’ll have to get that info for you. My usage has been once or twice per year, some years none at all. My plan is for more of the bigger/closer objects.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    We’ve been more on the recipient end of volunteerism recently than the giving end.  For example, Kate received a free week at one of Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Children’s Network camps for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses. It is staffed by many of the same nurses, PA’s, and NP’s she had during her stay at Children’s Hospital — on a volunteer basis.

    She also recently joined a climbing team that was started for kids of any ability in partnership between the local climbing gym and the therapists at the Child Development Center. It is also staffed by volunteers.

    I’d include a picture, but I can’t get “Add Media” to work. Kate’s a natural!

    • #11
  12. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Western Chauvinist: We’ve been more on the recipient end of volunteerism recently than the giving end.  For example, Kate received a free week at one of Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Children’s Network camps for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses. It is staffed by many of the same nurses, PA’s, and NP’s she had during her stay at Children’s Hospital — on a volunteer basis. She also recently joined a climbing team that was started for kids of any ability in partnership between the local climbing gym and the therapists at the Child Development Center. It is also staffed by volunteers.

    Wonderful to hear that she’s improving.

    Western Chauvinist: I’d include a picture, but I can’t get “Add Media” to work. Kate’s a natural!

     What happens when you try?

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Wonderful to hear that she’s improving. Western Chauvinist: I’d include a picture, but I can’t get “Add Media” to work. Kate’s a natural!  What happens when you try?

     It cuts off the top of the picture, where Kate is, and the bottom of the picture, where her volunteer coach is belaying her, so you just see an empty climbing wall. I guess my picture’s too big, or Add Media doesn’t like portrait layout?

    • #13
  14. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Western Chauvinist:  I guess my picture’s too big, or Add Media doesn’t like portrait layout?

     Those are two things that mess it up.  I’ll email Scott, but you can use Resizr to crop it easily.

    • #14
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Okay — trying again:

    Kate climbing2

    Did it work? Nope — not until the second try?

    • #15
  16. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    As many know, the LDS Church (the Mormons) has created its own welfare assistance program for those who need help.  Some of this is monetary assistance, but the biggest part of it is a system that helps provide the daily necessities of life, especially food and related products.

    The church has thus established some sophisticated canneries that can or bottle all the basic commodities.  Each cannery has a handful of full-time employees, but the vast majority of the work is performed by volunteers.  Today I took a four hour shift (10 AM to 2 PM) on the assembly line that turns unshucked corn into cans of corn (I was one of about fifty volunteers on this shift).  Because this is corn season in Utah, the cannery began at 6:00 AM morning and will continue to process corn into the evening.  The result will be tens of thousands of cans of corn available for those who need it.

    Not a dime of government money goes into this program.  Volunteers are encouraged but not coerced.  The whole  purpose is to help people through hard times and allow them to again become self-sufficient.  And it works.

    • #16
  17. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    tabula rasa: The church has thus established some sophisticated canneries that can or bottle all the basic commodities.  Each cannery has a handful of full-time employees, but the vast majority of the work is performed by volunteers.  Today I took a four hour shift (10 AM to 2 PM) on the assembly line that turns unshucked corn into cans of corn (I was one of about fifty volunteers on this shift).  Because this is corn season in Utah, the cannery began at 6:00 AM morning and will continue to process corn into the evening.  The result will be tens of thousands of cans of corn available for those who need it.

    Excuse me while I search for my jaw; it’s somewhere on the floor.

    I new Mormon welfare programs like this were a big deal, but I’d no idea how big.

    • #17
  18. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Saturday before last was “Second Saturday Supper” — we serve about 50 meals to the community. Our pastor’s and a couple of parishioners are pretty good cooks: my wife and I serve and wash dishes.

    I’m getting ready to put on our third Financial Peace University this fall. A student from my last class just stopped me before Worship to say he’d added $44 bucks to his emergency by selling unneeded scrap!

    Finally, we just got back from Cub Scout Resident Camp. We went from two to six campers, though one went home early sick. Very proud of my son, who looked like a young man in his Webelos kit! He behaved even better (and misbehaved enough to have fun). Here’s a pic of my wife and son from her visit for dinner. 

    Moses2014Visit

    • #18
  19. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    I have spent my efforts on several programs, the first is Scouting.  

    Fifteen years ago I was tapped to be a den leader, six of those boys followed me into Boy Scouts, five of the six made Eagle Scout and are in college. Several come from compromised households. Their success means more than most of the awards on my wall from the office. I also have five Eagle mentor pins. The boys decide to whom they will give them to based on who, in their hearts, helped them the most get their Eagle Award. Only one of those is from my original den. That is immensely gratifying.

    My younger boy’s clan is having their last summer before they go to college.  This is where I was a month ago.  That is Philmont Scout Range behind them in the first image.  This is before we hiked over 75 miles with 50lb packs, over ten days (someone else’s post was recently discussing pedometer counts our was around 500,000 for that trek). That picture starts at elevation 6500′, the mountain in the left is the high point at 11,700′ on day four. This is a real test for boys between 15 and 18 years of age (don’t mention how hard it is on the 50+ year old dads). It shows them what they are capable of with planning and proper preparation.  They did well. Their success is more important that one’s aching feet.

    Philmontphilmont3Philmont 2philmont4
     

    The second activity I have been contributing to for 9 years has been the Knights of Columbus.  We completed or annual family carnival this saturday. It is planned and operated by about 50 of the members of our 400 plus member counsel over ten days in August for our two parishes and the local community.  All of the proceeds go back into the near area.  None of the charities we support are more that 20 miles from that hall. This one event is worth about 20% of the charitable giving we do each year.  Not bad for a bunch of old guys and there wives. My station is next to the tall wheel in the middle back of the image with the spinning cages….. I am spinning a Nevada wheel for the parents who cannot stomach the G forces inflicted by the adolescent rides.  We all need our adrenaline rush, just at different rates.

     grand carnival.

    • #19
  20. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    I wonder what % of Ricochetes are currently involved in Scouting?

    • #20
  21. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    Ed G.:

    I wonder what % of Ricochetes are currently involved in Scouting?

     Ed,

    For all of our Mormon folks it is their main (only?) youth activity I have been told.

    Our troop started a “Crew” unit about 5 years ago (it is coed for 14 to 21 year old youths) and it is about 65% female. Seems the young ladies are not happy with the limitations of the Girls Scouts, and amazingly the fraternization fears that the “Old ScoutMasters” harbored has not materialized. The outings based on shooting range activities with a large selection of gun powdered based activities is very popular with the young ladies. 

    Seems the girls Mom’s are unhappy with the GSA policies as well, very progressive from what I hear. We have done several district level trips to the International Scottish Jamborette to Blair Atholl Scotland. “Boy Scouts” over there has been coed for quite some time and they are fairly passionate about Scouting. Despite our society’s drift scouting tends to be a conservative leaning organization.

    • #21
  22. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Vrouwe and I work with children at our churches (Hope Chapel and St. William) and have a long history of working in various church food pantries and in ESL for Spanish speakers ministries. We are and have been  also involved in racial reconciliation and Protestant/Catholic reconciliation ministries.

    • #22
  23. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    And the big one locally for us is Texas Alliance for Life and related pro-life ministries.

    • #23
  24. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    AUDaughter and I have a weekly Meals on Wheels route. Our local office receives no federal funding or United Way funding. I don’t know about other areas. 

    Folks at church pack 50 lunches 6 days a week and takes them to the downtown mission. They have packed over 80,000 lunches. There is also a huge garden, which has produced over 6000 pounds of veggies this year. It goes to the local food bank for their distribution. 

    Mission Backpack, a Loaves & Fishes ministry, provides weekend food for the middle schoolers across the street who can only count on eating food at school.

    • #24
  25. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    My church runs “Victory House”.  A number of years ago, my father (also my pastor) had a vision of providing short-term housing for families who had lost their homes to fire or other natural disasters so that the families would not have to be separated and to ease their burdens while recovering.  These families find a fully equipped, fully furnished home where they can feel comfortable, secure, and at peace while they reorganize their lives. There is no charge for the use of these facilities, allowing the residents to be free from the worry of additional living expenses.

    We had land, but being a small church, we didn’t have a lot of money or manpower.  We were put in touch with our local fire and EMS department who told us they had been wanting to do this, too, and while they had funding and manpower, had no land.  We partnered with them, police, a local construction company, and several local businesses.  We now have two houses and an outreach center with furniture, clothing, and other items to get people back on their feet at no cost.

    • #25
  26. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Whiskey Sam:

    My church runs “Victory House”. A number of years ago, my father (also my pastor) had a vision of providing short-term housing for families who had lost their homes to fire or other natural disasters so that the families would not have to be separated and to ease their burdens while recovering. These families find a fully equipped, fully furnished home where they can feel comfortable, secure, and at peace while they reorganize their lives. There is no charge for the use of these facilities, allowing the residents to be free from the worry of additional living expenses.

    We had land, but being a small church, we didn’t have a lot of money or manpower. We were put in touch with our local fire and EMS department who told us they had been wanting to do this, too, and while they had funding and manpower, had no land. We partnered with them, police, a local construction company, and several local businesses. We now have two houses and an outreach center with furniture, clothing, and other items to get people back on their feet at no cost.

     That’s brilliant! 

    • #26
  27. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    My volunteerism has been of the “free market” variety.  Since 1999, I have been the Business Survey Chairman of ISM-Western Washington (Institute for Supply Management).  Each month, I send out surveys to local purchasing managers, and compile the data and publish on our Web site and send to nearly 60 business and press “customers”.  The survey allows us to have our finger on the pulse of the local economy.  I gain enormous satisfaction from this task, and every so often, I get email from economists and think tanks wanting to receive our data.

    • #27
  28. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Son # 3 got his Eagle Scout last year and more important I got my hat trick!  Thanks to a wonderful neighbor scouts were a big part of our neighborhood, out of seven now adult boys there are six Eagle Scouts (and the only one without his Eagle Scout just re-upped in the Navy). We are still involved in the troop. (“We” meaning my husband.  Too many women involved in Boy Scouts and I was always happy to NOT be one of them)

    20 + years of Catholic School for my kids, so my past is littered with PTA boards, school boards, fundraising activities  etc . #4 graduated in  2013 and I’ve enjoyed the respite. But it will be time soon to get involved, probably at church. But not quite yet …

    • #28
  29. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Lyme Disease slows me down, but I continue to homeschool my children except the eldest, a National Merit Scholar who just started at college yesterday… I volunteer with our church’s food pantry, altar-rosary society, and respect life committees, but I don’t run them annymore. We are gearing up for a 40 Days for Life campaign in September, and  I also will put together the  program for  our respect life dinner in October. I sing in my church choir when I can, and transport my 15 year old to community chorus and orchestra. He also leads chess night at the library, where our daughter also volunteers.

    I also teach other classes, such as high school biology, as a volunteer in a co-op, and help with my three youngest’s soccer program.

    Sunday, my husband spent the day fixing the siding of our friend’s house who recently broke his leg. He also volunteers his architectural services for things like this, or for our friend’s Eagle Scout project restoring a kayak put in, or for our priest from Ghana who needed Papa Toad’s help getting his house back home built.

    • #29
  30. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    I helped start a youth organization to teach kids outdoor skills, called Backwater Legacies.  We start them out with basic hunter education, and safety.  By the time they graduate, four years later, they are experts at shooting, bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, shotguns, pistols, & high power rifles.   They know how to trap, how to set up a decoy spread for waterfowl, how to hunt with falcons, how to call turkey, & how to fly fish.  They can make their own bowstrings, fletch their own arrows, and properly mount and sight-in a scope on a rifle.  In short, they know more about hunting, fishing, and marksmanship than their dads and uncles who have been hunting for decades.

    All of the instruction above is done for one reason, to attract youth to our ministry.  Interwoven into the time they spend learning all the stuff above, they are learning about God, about being leaders, and about being responsible people.  It is working extremely well.  We are having fun, growing rapidly, and making a difference.  It is fulfilling work.

    Go to http://www.backwaterlegacies.org for more information.

    • #30
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