Please, and thank you!
Such simple words that cost us nothing to say, and yet, they seem to be vanishing from our collective vocabulary. It’s not often that I use this column to rant, but every once in a while I do take advantage of the space the fine folks at The River Reporter grant me to discuss something other than puppet shows and bake sales. As another season fades into memory, I’m reminded once again, that I’m well on my way to becoming a dinosaur—a vanishing breed, if you will. Oh, sure, I remember rolling my eyes and snickering behind my parents’ backs as they prattled on and on about “kids today” and the lack of respect that we allegedly exhibited on a daily basis, positive that I would never sound like them and yet... here I am, grousing, complaining and bemoaning the state of the world around me.
To be fair, it’s been my experience here in the Upper Delaware River region, I encounter polite young people on a consistent basis, and I applaud the parents out there instilling good manners in their kids at an early age. But truth be told, I often find myself befuddled by the sheer numbers of young adults (and sadly, often their parents as well) who seem to have no manners whatsoever. I fear that some of us might be raising an entire generation of young people who have a sense of entitlement, with little to no regard for the most basic appreciation of the simple things. Holding a door for the next in line, refilling a coffee cup at the diner, cashing a check at the bank. Is it me? Are we in such a rush that we can’t find an extra second in our day-to-day to say “thank you”?
How refreshing then, to find myself in Circleville, NY last weekend, taking my seat with close to 200 other like-minded individuals, gathered in one place to express their feelings and simply say “thank you” to the incredible folks behind the Boys & Girls Clubs of Orange and Sullivan Counties. As trite as it might sound, I sincerely believe that “the children are our future” and that sentiment is echoed loud and often by everyone involved with this amazing organization, populated by hundreds across county lines who work tirelessly to ensure that our kids are given a fighting chance. And turst me, these kids (and grownups) are more than polite. They are kind, they are generous, and (IMHO) they are inspiring.
The River Reporter is a proud sponsor of the organization, and it was my distinct pleasure to be on hand to commemorate the evening by taking photographs of the folks enjoying an amazing four-course meal created by local chefs, utilizing locally sourced food, paired with locally created wines, craft beers and spirits. Now in its fourth year, the annual “Grown Here Farm-to-Table Experience” showcases not only what our community is able to produce, but also the humanity that abounds here in the mountains. The evening served as a fundraiser, and the hotly anticipated fine-wines auction was wildly successful. Thanking me (go figure) for my small contribution to the evening, executive director Lori Rivenburgh announced that “although the final tabulations have yet to come in, I can conservatively announce that we raised over $40,000, and that the room was filled to capacity with club sponsors and supporters.” Wow.
The event also served as a springboard to honor club founder Stephen Plain, who was surrounded by beaming family members. They included his wife Maureen, who stood proudly next to him as he received accolades from fellow board members and recognition award certificates from the Town of Walkill, Sen. John Bonacic, New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office and a plaque for “Special Congressional Recognition.” Former Boys & Girls Club director Alexis Eggleton sent me a note saying “Thank you, Jonathan, for the beautiful photos commemorating the BGC dinner honoring Stephen’s dedication. Twenty-four years ago, Steve created a safe, supportive place for thousands of children. I was (and still am) so proud to have been a part of making that vision a reality. Congratulations to Steve and Maureen.” Alexis concluded with, “On behalf of all of the kids, and all of the kids at heart who grew up in the clubs—thank you!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
To view all of the photos from the “Grown Here” dinner, go to www.facebook.com/theriverreporter, share them, and tag your friends.