Opinion

McGennis Youth Center has a bright future

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A subject and a program that is dear to my heart is the McGennis Youth Center. From all indications there are many things that are good about the youth Center.

As usual, the center has a good physical appearance. The cover on the annual report is attractive, has a good appearance and looks good. The center's financial condition -- especially compared to prior years --looks good. The composite of new enthusiastic board members make the board look good, too. Certainly there are many ways that the McGennis Youth Center is looking good.

The board is responsible for the development and maintenance of the youth center located north of Metz. The board's annual meeting was held last week at the Flaming Lantern in Butler. Officers re-elected were Robert Wills, Rich Hill, president; Virginia Habjan, Nevada, vice-president; and Debbie Balk, Rich Hill. Elected as treasurer was Carla Armentrout, Hume, replacing Carl Steiger, who has faithfully served for approximately eight years.

In the presidents report Robert said, "In March, Mary McGennis established the McGennis youth Center with her donation of land to be utilized as a place for youth character building. The center grounds continue to be an outstanding tribute to Mary McGennis. The current board members work to maintain her 40-year legacy and strive to provide a safe and enjoyable place for all.

"The year 2007 brought a completion to several projects. The work on the lake was finished from proceeds received in cooperation with Missouri Department of Conservation. This work included putting in a new drainage pipe and completing the dirt work. Many thanks to Dale Headley and crew for their hard work and dedication to finishing this project. The playground equipment donated in memory of Fred Teel was installed. This equipment is a wonderful addition to the playground area. Thank you to Dale Headley, Bryce Canon and Greg Brocka for volunteering their time to completing this project. Under the supervision of Marc Bell, the boys from RHDYS built and installed a bridge for the walking trail. We also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the center.

"Theatre under the Stars was presented again and the scorching heat didn't seem to wither the dedication of the cast or patrons. We give a big thank you to Rhonda Headley and crew for the summer play and the chance to laugh, sweat and stomp cockroaches while having fun."

Through the years there have been many who have been dedicated to the center and have supported it in a variety of ways. A special part of the report was a memorial to three of these faithful servants that departed during this past year. Randy Bell wrote, "Amid plans for the future and listing of accomplishments, we must occasionally stop and reflect on those who gave so much and paved the way in the past.

"In 2007 the McGennis Youth Center said goodbye to three of its most loyal supporters. All three were the embodiment of faith and conviction in action.

"Quietly, but firmly, Marjorie McGennis watched over and gently guided the board of directors from the conception of the center through her very last days. Even during her years in the nursing home, Marjorie kept up on the center, its progress and those that served it. Her influence and generosity to the community will be felt for generations.

"Few of us ever heard Ralph Clary utter a harsh word. Even when a problem or situation left the rest of us irritated, Ralph would stay calm, unruffled and even find a little humor. Kind, generous and gentle as he was, you always knew there was no weakness to this man. He could be gentle because of the strength within him. Ralph was one of the original members of the board of directors and even as his health failed, he looked forward to the Christmas dinner meeting in Germantown.

"Another quiet, almost behind the scenes type of person was Marjorie Chandler. Yes, it was husband Russell who was actually the center's treasurer for many years. But yes, it was always Russell, with a chuckle, who acknowledged the job, was very much a team effort. Team is the key descriptive word for Russell and Marjorie. They joked about how young they were when they married. But you have to say it worked out. The couple was a longtime fixture at the annual barbecue, selling tickets under the shade tree."

Randy ended his tribute with these words, "These friendships are treasures; their legacies are challenges. In our turn, can we each be the mentors that they were? Can we be that positive influence in a younger person's life? They've passed us the baton; it's now up to us to continue the race."

These words by Randy were well written and a wonderful tribute.

The report contains many things that took place during the year including a report from the caretakers, Scott and Tina Sudkamp. The participation at the center was good and there were several groups involved as well as many accomplishments toward the maintenance and improvement of the center. Anyone wanting information about the center or desire to make a reservation may contact Scott or Tina at the center by calling (417) 395-4343.

Investing in the McGen-nis Youth Center is a good investment. Contributions may be sent to Carla Armentrout, treasurer, RR1, Box 76, Hume, MO 64752.