The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

July 6, 2013

Volunteering becomes a family practice

Linvilles spend a lot of their summer at museum

CLINTON — Most days, one of Brenda Linville's children can be found helping out at the Sawmill Museum.

From sweeping and dusting to creating games and working the programs, these children — ranging from 12 to 19—are a common fixture at the museum.

"They're pretty awesome," Brenda, education director for the museum, said.

More than half of Brenda's six children volunteer for the Clinton museum. She explained that their grandparents grew up in Clinton and the children have strong ties to the area. Brenda added she has also tried to instill a sense of community and volunteerism in them.

"Helping the community is more important than sitting around and watching television," Brenda said.

Brenda's daughters, Jen, Bekah and Faith, are often found at the museum. Her 14-year-old daughter, Katie, volunteers occasionally and watches her other siblings so those three can be at the museum.

Bekah, 15,  will be entering her senior year in high school this fall and has been nominated for a youth volunteer award in the Quad-City area. She enjoys organizing the gift shop and doing inventory. Bekah also brought another teenage volunteer to the museum — her boyfriend, Tim Dawson, 17.

"At first she made me come down here," Tim said. "Then after I started volunteering, I chose to come down here."

Tim helps with the various programs, often constructing items needed. He and Bekah stuffed lots of eggs for the Easter egg hunt at the museum.

"It's something to do with your time and you feel awesome after you've done it. So, it's a win-win," Jen, 19, said.

Working full time, volunteering at the museum can take up a good amount of Jen's remaining time. However, she loved helping with the Saturday programming and researching games and activities.

"Having a lot of kids at home, I know how hard it is on parents. So when they're able to just drop their kids off and we can occupy them for two, three hours at a time and give their parents a break, that's awesome," Jen said.

Visitors to the museum might see 12-year-old Faith vacuuming and cleaning the space. She also gets to dust the different tools, equipment and machines.

"We can't operate without them," Director Matt Parbs said. He added that the group often undersells what they do for the museum.

With the museum's third annual Lumberjack Festival planned for July 13, volunteers are getting ready. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is centered around a professional lumberjack competition.

Jen is excited to see the festival geared more for children. The Felix Adler Children's Discovery Center will provide children's games. The event will feature a rock climbing wall, water sports, a lumberjack camp and a lumber baroness tent with Miss Clinton County.

The Linvilles and Tim will be around during the festival. Jen will manage the perimeter and Tim and Bekah have agreed to be in charge of wristbands. Faith will take surveys.

"They do a lot leading up to the event, during the event and after the event to really help out," Parbs said.

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