Sunday, July 24, 2011

Working “The Plan”

I have been absent from these pages for a while now and little did I expect anyone to notice.  Ralph, at Ralph Carson Blog has kindly inquired to my whereabouts on several occasions.  I can honestly say that the past few months has not been spent at exotic ports of call or far from home for that matter.  Simply put, I have been busy “working my plan”.

So what’s my plan?  Before retiring from forestry, I developed a written plan that would guide me into the first six months of retirement.  My plan was a list of goals; simple plans have always worked the best for me.  One of my goals was to become established in a volunteer activity; I sort of hit the mother load and some how have become established in four.

For the past three years I have stocked shelves at the food bank and delivered meals to home bound senior citizens on a weekly basis.  These tasks are far from glamorous and requires little more than to show up with a strong back and a weak mind.  I do however consider the work to be very important, especially to those who are hungry.

I also continue to serve as a host to cruise ship passengers who visit for several hours.  Astoria is a port of call in the spring and fall as the cruise ships reposition to or from the Alaskan waters.  It’s really a lot of fun meeting people who have never have visited our area, especially those folks who come from outside the United States.  As far as volunteering goes, it doesn’t get any better than standing on the street corner, telling people where to go, and having them thank you for the experience!

Since my last post, I have also spent many hours volunteering at the maritime museum giving tours and working with the children’s educational programs.  One of the museum’s staff members recently commented that I should have a bed at the museum as I’m there so much.  I guess that explains why the staff is never surprised to see me   walk through the door.

This spring, we began a new educational program for middle school students which we refer to as our “hands on tour”.  The goal of the tour is to minimize talking at the kids but instead to engage them through activities which require the reliance on all of their senses. 

Working with kids, especially middle school students is a kick.  They always have an answer to your question and frequently it will one that you never expected.  On a recent tour I was leading a group of seventh grade students through an exercise which required them to imagine what it might be like to wear the deep water diving suit that is on display.  I posed the the following question, “do you see any problems that might come from being confined inside such a suit?”  I was thinking along the lines of that the suit would be cumbersome to wear and when the helmet is attached your field of view would be extremely limited.  Without missing a beat or cracking a smile, one young lady said that it would be especially uncomfortable inside the suit if you were to fart.  Not the answer I was looking for but I’m sure she is likely on point!  Rule number one for giving a tour is to always know your audience; that day I forgot the rule before posing the question.

Now that summer has finally arrived for those of us who reside on the Oregon coast the question becomes what will I do with the  little spare time I have when not volunteering.  One option might be to complete the wall papering of the kitchen I started more than a year ago.  I know that my lovely wife would like that!!