INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - In addition to heading Lake Tahoe School, I have the privilege of serving as a member of Rotary here in Incline. Actually, there are two Rotary meetings: one that meets for breakfast at 7 a.m. weekly and one that meets for lunch.
Given school schedules, my attendance with the lunch crew would be spotty, indeed. I find the Thursday morning gatherings to be both inspiring and rather therapeutic.
As you may know, Rotary is an international, service organization. Each member is committed to supporting the general work of Rotary (the near-total international eradication of Polio is an accomplishment for which Rotary can claim considerable credit) as well as to volunteering for various local projects. We sell ducks for the July 4th duck race and Christmas trees in December as our major fundraisers.
The aforementioned therapy part is attached to both the breakfast meetings and the volunteer opportunities. The membership of each Rotary chapter is purposefully diverse. In fact, there usually is only one representative from any specific line of work: one doctor, one lawyer, one elementary school educator, one high school educator, etc.
The result, for me, is exposure to all kinds of people I might not otherwise meet. It's also participation in an outrageously and delightfully irreverent and witty group. Rotarians take their work seriously; themselves, not so much. One cannot leave a meeting without feeling hope and a sense of sharpened vision, as well as that sense of contentment that comes with a couple of good belly laughs.
The volunteer situations provide the time necessary to get to know someone a little more "up close and personal," as was said in the past by commentators connecting to athletes during the Olympics.
Sunday, I had the pleasure of sharing tree-selling time with Bill Devine, sheriff of Incline Village and coach of both the high school cross-country running and ski teams. Perhaps my sense of appreciation was heightened by last Friday's horrific events in Connecticut, but my time with Bill clarified, once again, how fortunate we are to be in Incline Village.
No place is 100 percent safe. How much safer than most communities we are, however, when our sheriff is on a first-name basis (for good reasons!) with half the citizenship, including children of all ages. Bill knows kids. He knows what makes them tick. He knows when an arm around the shoulder is what is needed and when it should be the proverbial kick in the pants.
He understands that sometimes the motivation behind a parent making absurd demands of him as a coach is the fear all parents can feel at some time or another. Bill has a great sense of humor and an equal sense of balance. How lucky we are to have him in our midst.
- Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at www.laketahoeschool.org.