Boy Scout Volunteers (2002)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives published in The Topeka Capital-Journal. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Volunteers Make a difference at The Capper Foundation (2002)

It is easy to experience nature’s beauty in the middle of Topeka, thanks to Boy Scout Troop 117’s volunteer work.

Beginning in 1992, the area behind The Capper Foundation has been transformed into a nature trail with a bridge, dry bed and plantings, a songbird habitat and a raised planter. The raised planter gives children in wheelchairs the opportunity to plant flowers and other items.

In the early 1990’s, Troop 117 was looking for a project for their Eagle Scouts. Diane Herynk, co-owner of Herynk’s Greenhouse and Nursery Inc. heard about the need for a developmental area for children served by Capper. Her son, who was a member of the troop at the time, was preparing to become an Eagle Scout.

“I thought, ‘What a neat thing this would be for Capper,’” Herynk said. “I’m very pleased [about the trail].”

Jim Bass, leader of Boy Scout Troop 117 of Auburn, said that since 1992, 11 members of Troop 117 have become Eagle Scouts because of their volunteer hours put in at Capper. In all, Bass said, approximately 1,200 to 1,300 hours have gone into completing the trail.

Boy Scout Troop 117 is only one example of the many dedicated volunteers that The Capper Foundation has, said Jeanette Waters, volunteer manager for Capper. Capper volunteers also help in the Kidlink Preschool and Child-care program, the recreation program, special events and day-to-day activities.

During the summer months, The Capper Technology Camp takes place. The camp is for school-aged children who use Augmentative Communication devices or computer systems to communicate. During the camp, sometime each day is spent on the nature trail.

“The theme for the camp is bugs,” said Cathy Drobny, educational technology consultant at Capper. “We usually take a hike on the trail. We look for bugs, plants and animals. The nature trail is a perfect spot to play games, too. It’s definitely a wonderful place.”

Drobny also witnesses how volunteers make a difference in everyday life at the organization.

“It’s incredible,” she said. “They save us so many hours by doing some of the tasks.”

In her department, volunteers spend time working with computers and even downloading materials from the Internet.

“It gives us a chance to see some great files that we ordinarily wouldn’t have time to print off and take a look at,” she said.

The Capper Foundation recognizes its volunteers at various times throughout the year, Waters said. Volunteer hours are logged, and each volunteer receives recognition when he or she reaches 25, 50 and 100 hours of donated time. Volunteers also are honored each year at the annual donor recognition dinner.

“They do make a big difference,” Waters said. “We offer a wide variety of opportunities.”

In order to volunteer at the organization, a person has to be 13 years of age or older. Interested people can pick up an application form at The Capper Foundation. After the application form is filled out, an interview is conducted. If the candidate is a good match for Capper, he or she is given orientation and training.