The Siuslaw news. (Florence, Lane County, Or.) 1960-current, July 18, 2018, WEDNESDAY EDITION, Page 6A, Image 6

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HELPING from page 1A
But what sounded like a nice
night out for warm beverages
on the river turned out to be a
handoff of Graham’s life work.
Graham was graduating in a
few years and was wondering
if Ava would be willing to take
“And we just looked at her
and said, ‘Yeah …’” Ava re-
called. “We were excited, but
we were nervous! It’s her baby
that she’s been taking care of
for eight years. Kaylee had done
such a good job, and we were
afraid we would just mess it up.”
Ella added, “She left big shoes
to fill.”
“Yeah, like size 14,” Ava said,
Graham asked Ava to help
out three years ago, when Gra-
ham was entering her fifth
year of Power of Florence. Ava
thought it would be fun to ask
her lifelong friend Faith to help.
“Faith was always cool and
responsible and would keep me
in check if I started going cra-
zy,” Ava said. “I start procrasti-
nating. Faith says, ‘You know,
why don’t you sit down and
write this essay.’”
The two met in first-grade,
two shy students who sat across
from each other. Their teacher,
Shannon Graham — mother to
Kaylee — had a system where
students could write notes to
one another in class.
“I would write, ‘Hi Faith!’ and
deliver it to her,” Ava said. “And
she would write back.”
Even though they were sitting
right next to each other, they
became pen pals, figuring out
plans for the weekend, includ-
ing drawing pictures of a zip line
that Faith had in her backyard.
“It was a little stick figure
Faith going down the zip line.
And it was misspelled, because
it was first-grade,” Ava said.
The two have stuck by each
other’s side ever since, fre-
quently going on surfing trips.
“It was a natural fit,” Ella said.
The girls had also done vol-
unteering together, including a
class challenge to buy as much
food as possible for $20 to do-
nate to Florence Food Share.
That was also in first grade.
“How do you even remember
that?” Faith asked Ava.
“I don’t know, I just remem-
ber having a lot of fun that day,”
Ava said. “That was a cool day,
to see what impact we could
have as kids on our communi-
Volunteering has been a big
part of Ava’s life. One of her
favorite duties is helping to
maintain the Little Libraries at
Florence Food Share and the
CROW Center for the Perform-
ing Arts.
“It’s like a little library that
you can put books in. You can
take them, keep them, put new
books in, take them out and
read them,” Ava said.
She has accepted book dona-
tions for the past several years
during the Power of Florence
Party in the Parking Lot.
As for Faith? She shrugged
her shoulders, smiled and said,
“I don’t know, I’m really bor-
She’s not.
Her family frequently combs
the community beaches for
trash that has washed ashore.
“There’s a lot of weird stuff on
the beach,” she said. “One time
I found a spork. And a tooth-
Faith did not find them sit-
ting next to each other, howev-
er; “That would have been real-
ly weird,” she said.
Ava and Faith have also been
working together on a variety of
other volunteer programs, in-
cluding helping the U.S. Forest
Service record fish populations
in Knolls Creek.
“Once a week, we would go at
the fish trap and collect all the
fish and record them — their
length and weight and what
type of fish they were,” said
Faith. “It was fun going into the
water. We had chest waders and
we would go super deep.”
“Unnecessarily deep,” Ava
And, as everyone knows, be-
ing unnecessarily deep in a creek
is what makes it fun. And fun is
what volunteering is all about.
“To me, that’s the coolest part
of volunteering and why our
families have had so much fun
working together,” Ella said.
“We get to watch our kids make
a big difference, and that’s a
great thing.”
As for fun during the Power
of Florence, Ava is particular-
ly fond of the organizations
that remove the noxious weed
Scotch broom, an invasive spe-
“There’s the Scotch broom
removal at Joshua Lane by the
Oregon Dunes Restoration
Collaborative,” Ava said. “You
get to go out into the dunes
and tear up a bunch of Scotch
broom, which is really fun. You
get these big hand saws and just
get to destroy Scotch broom
that’s taking over the dunes.”
But being in charge of such a
large and venerated event cer-
tainly has work that goes be-
yond having fun in the sand.
From helping to sign up new
volunteering programs, pro-
moting the event and making
sure everything runs smoothly,
the two girls and their families
have sunk a lot of hours in the
Power of Florence.
And this year the pressure
is really on, being the first
time the two are completely in
“Last year, we called up
Kaylee and were like, ‘So, do
you know who helped us with
this last year?’” Ava said. “And
she would answer that. But now
she’s on vacation out of coun-
try. So we have to do a lot more
things on our own and we’re
feeling the pressure more this
year than last year.”
There’s a lot to organizing the
event beyond just shepherding
volunteer groups. There’s also
setting up generators for the
various events around towns,
ordering stages and acquiring
sound equipment.
“There’s so many pieces from
100 different people in town and
trying to make them all togeth-
er for Saturday morning is a lot,
but it’s been going great,” Ella
said. “It’s just going to be fun
from here on out. I’m excited.”
And with the bulk of the com-
munity stepping up to help with
the event, it’s nearly impossible
to fail.
Plus, there will be a snow cone
and crêpe food truck at the third
annual Florence Regency Carni-
val, right across the street from
the Party in the Parking Lot.
“And a dunk tank,” Ava add-
ed. “I don’t see how it can go
wrong when we have those.”
While the actual event is set
to run smoothly, there’s one
thing that both girls are still
weak in the knees about: speak-
ing about the event on the stage
at the parking lot.
“I’m still thinking about the
speech,” Faith said. “It’s at the
Party in the Parking Lot at
11:45 a.m. It’s like having to do
a speech in class, but it’s a ton
more people, and they’re mostly
But, as the two have done
throughout their lives, they will
have each other’s back.
“We decided that we’re going
to do the same speech together,”
Ava said, comforting her friend.
“A joint speech. It’s going to be
thanking different organiza-
tions for coming together and
helping for the Power of Flor-
ence and volunteering and sup-
porting us.”
And that spirit of giving
thanks is what the event is all
“It’s important to help peo-
ple in the town who’ve helped
me,” Ava said. “It’s worth giv-
ing back. Like in school, with
teachers being really good to
you and helping you learn stuff.
And you want to help them. Ev-
erybody is living in this town.
You’ve got to help out in some
Having kids like Faith and
Ava showing that youth can
play an important part in vol-
unteerism is just as important
as the work that is done.
“I think kids think, ‘Oh, I’ll
do that when I’m an adult,’ but
they don’t realize they can do
it when they’re really young,”
Faith said.
Plus, there’s the Van Fans Ice
Cream Social at the end of the
day at the Florence Events Cen-
“Okay, so you walk in and
then you can get raffle tickets
and pie,” Ava said. “And you get
in this line with a paper plate
and they give you a slice of pie,
and you get to get a big scoop
of ice cream. And you get to get
seconds on the ice cream.”
Ella joked, “This is what
they’re in it for, right? This is
clearly the motivation. If you
work hard all day volunteer-
ing, why not celebrate with ice
“It’s the best,” Ava said.
After the ice cream social, the
three tabulate all the numbers
of the days, the number of vol-
unteers, the hours worked.
But after that?
“We’ll probably go over to
Faith’s house,” Ava said. “We’ll
sit down and say, ‘Well, that’s
over. Time to work on next
Siuslaw Pioneer Museum
A Collection of Fabric Woven by
Alice Peckham of Swisshome
and a demonstration of the antique 4-harness fl oor
loom used in the Peckham family for 3 generations.
A 4-harness direct tie-up counterbalance 1951 Allen Loom,
built-in Milwaukie, Oregon, and woven on by three generations
of the Peckham family of Mapleton, was donated to the Pioneer
Museum by Peckham with the hope that “[real words involving
inspiring others to weave if I remember right].”
Th e warping process will continue every Saturday at the museum
(noon to four) until the job is done and weaving commences. All
weavers are welcome to come and help or share ideas, including (1)
what we could do next and (2) what commitment we can collectively
make to assure that the loom remains an active, interactive, part of
our community. Th at four-hour window off ers a good opportunity
for Florence area weavers to get to know each other.
Spinners, there is room on the same fl oor of the Pioneer Museum
to bring your spinning wheels to share your craft and maybe inspire
some new spinners too. Th e museum has a few spinning wheels,
none near operational.
278 Maple St, Florence, OR 97439
(541) 997-7884
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