Ole Pappy

The times they are a changin’

Sure signs that things are not like they used to be: 1. Community groups that used to be valuable to every town are fading away. 2. Kids are too busy to go to Girls’ State anymore!

Take a look at the front page story about the Minneota American Legion Auxiliary. You’ll find it’s become very difficult to keep community groups alive.

Next week we’ll talk about the Minneota Rotary Club and how finding members has become difficult. Sadly, it’s a sign of our times that clubs are dying and they’ll never be replaced.

The American Legion and VFW are facing crisis times because the young generations are not joining up and when the older generations pass on ... there will be nobody left to carry on.

Take seriously the words of American Legion President Sandy Josephson when she says, “We’re aging out.”

As one of the American Legion members who attempts to get young men to go to Boys State each year, I can say another problem has risen.

Boys State was always a prestigious award to students and they always learned so much and gained so many friendships.

While you’ll see the Minneota and Taunton American Legions were able to sponsor three kids to Boys State this year, there still is a problem.

First, young people are so busy. We start with large numbers when choosing a candidate and most them have wrestling, basketball, football, band or other camps and can’t make a commitment to Boys State.

But the problem goes deeper. American Legion Clubs all across Minnesota can’t find candidates.

They have the money to register and help the kids go to Boys State, but they don’t have the boys.

What happens in some cases is that American Legion posts with money but no kids, put up the money for kids in other towns.

That happened this year. Because three kids from Minneota High School wanted to go, Taunton’s American Legion sponsored two of them — but another post, from another town paid the registration fees. It’s a sad state of affairs.

But I am so proud to know three of our boys wanted the experience and took the time and effort to spend the week at Boys State.

The American Legion Auxiliary had the same trouble this year. For the first time they couldn’t get a junior girl to agree to go to Girls State.

So nobody represented Minneota. For a long time I’ve had a great fear about losing American Legions and VFW’s across the nation.

Fact is, when the older veterans like myself fade away, it doesn’t appear there will be young men to take our place.

When that happens, the organizations will simply die. It’s sad because so many of these organizations have done a tremendous job of promoting the community, kids, and those in need.

Is it possible we’re just too busy to help others anymore? The Minneota Rotary is still alive and making a difference in Minneota and around the world.

But the Rotary, too, is facing a severe lack of members and is having to make some difficult decisions. We’ll talk more about that in the coming weeks.

But if you’re interested in getting involved and helping keep the community functioning, let me know, or contact people like Rick Bot, Cindy Potz or Monica DeSmet. While we know the “Times they are a changin’,” it’s sad to see things disappear that have worked so well and helped so many in the past.

LAUGH A LITTLE: Yeah, right! Scene: A radio newsroom.

Caller: I just wanted to let you know you’re off the air.

Host: Yes, we know. The engineers are working on it.

Caller: It would be nice if you put something on the air that says that.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “Have patience. Everything is difficult, until it becomes easy.”

I thought Ole Pappy was off his rocker on this one.

So I asked him and he said, “Sit down and try it again. Take it slow and follow the instructions. Once you’ve got it, it’s easy and you’ll be able to do it easily the next time.”

He was right! Thanks Ole Pappy!

Byron Higgin

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