If summer could talk, it would brag about how every year, it gets to spend its final days at the Washington Town and Country Fair. The all-ages festival combines the quaintness of the old-fashioned with the marvels of modern times, much like Charlotte's Web, but with more monster trucks. Showing off the "town" part of Town and Country, classic rock and country stars perform on the main stage, while the Midway twinkles and rumbles with carnival rides. The fair shows its "country" side with livestock pavilions, farm mechanic exhibits, and Agriland, where wee ones leans the joys of farm living while participating in pig chases. Adults get to cheer on monster truck rallies, tractor pulls, bull riders, UTV, and motocross races.
United Volunteers' knowledgeable staff lines the shelves with a vast inventory of upscale clothing, furniture, and wares, and uses all proceeds to help disadvantaged people. Peruse well-organized racks or enlist a shop guru to help you locate properly fitting shirts or pants for casual barbecues ($3–$5) or studded leather jackets and pants for crashing casual barbecues. Younger shoppers can don kid-size clothing ($1.10–$2) or challenge their minds with a puzzle or board game ($0.50–$2). Furniture, such as sofas ($100–$150) and recliners ($35), cradles spines while supplying the adequate recumbence to take in a book ($1 for hardcovers, $0.50 for paperbacks), DVD ($3), or impromptu nap. The ever-rotating inventory, which passes through a gauntlet of highly selective sorters, brings in an assortment of other items, such as housewares and entertainment centers, and weeds out unusable items such as torn dresses and forged Declarations of Independence.
In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.
While childhood obesity is a topic that receives widespread attention, registered nurse Jean Huelsing uncovered a facet of the issue that many have overlooked: Some of the very "fat camps" designed to help overweight kids slim down were actually part of the problem. She takes issue with these camps’ short-term approach, as they rely on fast-acting diets rather than instilling healthier lifestyle habits. Striving to succeed where other camps failed, Jean started Camp Jump Start in 2003 and, just three years and a score of happy campers later, founded The Living Well Foundation to extend the reach of her holistic-wellness principles.
The organization now hosts a wide range of camps for adults and children alike. They’re held at Living Well Village, which occupies 250 acres in the woods, where campers can develop a love for active pastimes through outdoor activities, such as navigating ropes courses, fishing, and juggling beavers.
Annie’s Hope sponsors a teen retreat in which small groups of bereaving teens interact with empathetic peers, explore their concerns about a recent death, and work toward healing. Group and individual activities encourage teens to develop coping strategies by expressing themselves through arts and crafts, journaling about complicated feelings, and creating mementos of their loved ones in a candle-lighting ceremony. Annie’s Hope requires additional funding to cover the costs of its next retreat, including transportation to and from the retreat site, meals and snacks for the weekend, lodging, arts-and-crafts supplies, candles, and a nursing staff.