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The Chamber Minute
In the early days of my time in North Bend city government, as we looked for opportunities, I found myself thinking “if only” we had the assets of the County we could really get something done. What I quickly found was the County was saying the same thing about the State and the State was saying the same thing about the Federal government. I was reminded of an old hymn called “Brighten the Corner where you are”.
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Your big time is now and this is your stage to make a difference on.
For many years we had a formal Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Each May they had annual RSVP Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. It was there we acknowledged that these folks had given over 100,000 hours of volunteer time to your community. While RSVP is gone, the volunteer service continues. So what does that do?
- It makes our area viable. We could not afford to pay for those services. (SMART—Firefighters—Boy Scout leaders—VIC folk)
- It gives them ownership in our community
- It enables us to prosper from each other’s talents
Country singer Randy Travis had a song in the 80’s which does a good job, I believe, summarizing this point. In fact it was so good that the first President Bush used it as the theme song for his volunteer program initiative. It’s called Point of Light.
There are heroes whose names we never hear,
A dedicated army of quiet volunteers
Reaching out to feed the hungry,
Reaching out to save the land,
Reaching out to help their fellow man.
There are dreamers who are making dreams come true,
Taking time to teach the children
There’s nothing they can’t do,
Giving shelter to the homeless,
Giving hope to those without.
Isn’t that what this land’s all about
One by one, from the mountains to the sea
Points of light are calling out to you and me.
All it takes is a point of light,
A ray of hope in the darkest night.
If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right,
You will be a point of light.
Joel Barker released a series of management videos in the late 80’s and early 90’s which popularized the concept of “paradign shifts”. In the second video of the series, “the power of vision”, he ended with a story called the Starfish Thrower, which I’d like to share with you.
There was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. “I made a difference for that one!”
So folks you have been blessed to live in this place at this time. Once again let me encourage you to put your talents into action for your community. Here’s your mission:
- Brighten the corner where you are.
- Be a point of light for someone in need.
- Make a difference for at least one.
The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, remember Our Business is Helping Your Business!