Sustainable for the Summer


Carley Spading

There are many things to look forward to with the upcoming summer. The freedom from homework opens a myriad of possibilities, from lazing in the A/C to fun in the sun. But for some, making a difference is on the mind.

“I go out to the raptor center almost every day,” said Haley Shook ’17, “basically we clean up Lake MacBride in the summer.” Lake MacBride is a popular Iowa state park located in Solon. It is home to the Lake MacBride Raptor Center, where injured birds of prey are rehabilitated and released, or kept as ambassadors if they are unfit for the wild. There are many volunteer opportunities available for anyone interested.

“You [can] just put in an application and they’ll give you a call,” said Shook, “and you can help feed the birds, you can handle the birds. We have a family day once a month, you can help with that.” With so many chances to make a difference, there is a surprising lack of motivation to contribute.

“A lot of people need to get jobs. It’s difficult to be a student and an athlete and involved in music and involved in debate and have a job during the school year.” said Brad Wymer, a science teacher here at West High. “So these two months that we have in the summertime are really critical for some people to get that spending money [for] during the school year, or maybe just money in general.” High school students lead a pressed life, going between education, social life, extracurricular activities, and finding jobs. So perhaps during the summer, an additional non paying job-esque activity doesn’t always sound the most appealing.

“I think that a lot of people are very self-inflicted… they care about themselves.” said Shook. “I’m an athlete, I row. But most athletes, they’re very self-inflicted.” While sports can certainly take up much of one’s focus, it can be difficult to make commitments to several things.

“Volunteering is not something that is available to everyone because of resources that [students] have to raise for themselves.” said Wymer. Not everyone can afford to spend time doing anything other than what they have to. In some families, a high school student could be one of the main sources of income.

“Some people can be pretty stingy with their personal time, they want that time to do things that they truly enjoy doing.” he said. Motivation to do something with no reward, especially without pay, is not common among today’s time-constrained youth. So how does one find a way to encourage students to pursue volunteer opportunities?

“Even just go outside.” said Shook, “You know, wake up in the morning and go on a hike, enjoy the day. And whenever you go on a hike, just take a trash bag with you.” Simple ways of being aware of the world around you can be just as helpful as volunteering. The more one acknowledges about the life they live, the more willing they will be to take extra time to contribute to it. “Just do stuff that’s outside of your comfort zone.”



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