See a problem, round up a response

Ready to remove sandbags!

Ready to remove sandbags!

Much is being said about a younger generation and their “social entrepreneurship.” This group of high-energy, high output “Teach for America” types sees a problem and starts a non-profit. No doubt, the people social entrepreneurs serve will be better off for their efforts. Some of my best friends are social entrepreneur-types (or as a recent book described many of them, life entrepreneurs.)

Still, I’m sometimes exhausted at the thought that every challenge requires an all-out transformation of society. Some problems don’t need a sustained systemic response, a full-time Ivy League trained founding executive director, and Bill and Melinda Gates funding.

Some problems demand that you do something and do it in the present tense. And with some sweat.

That’s how friend Alice responded when her summer travels landed her on the shores of a highway-ending lake during Wisconsin’s June floods. There she saw Jefferson County residents tackling the rising rivers and creeks and decided that she, with access to both USM hockey AND football players, would organize two rounds of assistance.

Armed with a cell phone, Alice coordinated a trip in mid-July with the hockey players and just yesterday with the football players.

And that’s that. The Jefferson County sheriff and head of the county board (Thanks Sherry Schmeling!) might try to get some press in the local paper. But between that, and some follow up photos, we’re done. No grant reporting. No press releases. No board meetings. Just a little less work for Jefferson County residents and, we hope, a sturdy dose of perspective for our kids.


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