Posted: July 26, 2016

I am selfish with my time. Although I claim to be flexible and spontaneous, it is usually on my own terms. “No,” and “No thank you,” come quite easily from my lips. When I decline an offer or turn down a request, it often is because I think I have something better, something more important to do. Something I want to do.

Volunteering isn’t usually something on my to-do-list. I have however, agreed to help out from time to time, and when I do I am reminded how rewarding it is. For example, last weekend I helped out for two hours selling pop, water and barbecued beef sandwiches at Barbecue Days in Belle Plaine. Two hours, hardly a dent in the day but I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time. It’s not hard work, but I helped out my hometown and was rewarded with laughter, a chance to see old friends and a feeling of giving back to the community that has been such a big part of my life.

Two hours is a brief span of time. There are people who volunteer several hours every day, yet it’s not a contest. There is no shortage of opportunities to help. Nursing homes and hospitals need help, as do food shelves. Churches provide a wonderful service outside of government mandated aid – but they need help from volunteers. Your local library, the city you live and work in, and the town you grew up in all need volunteers.

The Scott County Fair needs volunteers throughout the year, but especially during the week of the fair. This year the fair runs from July 27-31. There are still spots open for the Welcome Booth and People Mover drivers.

I have not worked in the Welcome Booth, as they are in need of friendly people and I am told I don’t smile enough.  I have been a People Mover Driver, however. I think it may be the best job at the fair. For a couple of hours you drive a golf cart around the fairgrounds moving people (hence the name) from here to there and back again. The riders are appreciative and chatty. They wonder what’s good to eat, fun to do, and interesting to see. My personal favorites are the 4-H food stand, the Bluegrass Festival and the horses.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Scott County Fair call 952-492-2436 or go to

Life offers many truisms on the subject of sharing your time: The busiest people are the happiest. Giving is better than receiving. A helping hand is better than a good swift kick. Okay, maybe the last one doesn’t fit, but you get the point.

It’s not really a healthy hobby, but I often glance at the obituaries when I am reading the newspaper. It seems to me that with few exceptions the most successful people, the ones who had the fullest, most meaningful lives are also the ones who spent much of their time volunteering. I guess when your time is up, it’s better to have shared some of it.

Jerry Kucera, Fair Board Treasurer

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