(TB file photo)
(TB file photo)
VAN WERT - Not many people actually know what the Van Wert Community Club is, but member Phil Scott is hoping that this will soon change. While the club's biggest project is the haunted woods, the most recent project is a junior fair building fund.

The Van Wert Community Club began when people were aging out of the Jaycees but still wanted to stay active in the community. As a result, this new club was formed. The club has no age limit and currently includes 30 members from the ages of 18-60.

"The members are from all walks of life," said Scott. "The group is very diversified. We are getting ideas from the young to the more seasoned. There are a lot of different ideas coming out of the club. Not everyone is focusing on the same thing."

Because the club creates the opportunity for a variety of ideas, the club is working on many different events currently. The biggest project of the year is Hiestand Haunted Woods. The community club is working with the Van Wert County Foundation to take over maintenance of the woods with the goal to "repair, rebuild and renovate." Beyond focusing on the events in October, the club would like to update and upgrade the playground equipment in the woods.

Also this year, the club held the crab races. Real live crabs were brought in, and people were able to place bets to raise money. A very instrumental person at putting these events is Program Director Leilonee Taylor. Her main job is to find programs that the club can get involved in to help the Van Wert community. She also put together 29 Easter baskets which were donated to a local program and to some of the disabled veterans.

Taylor is now setting up a program where used cell phones can be donated and refurbished, and then sold with money going to shelters for battered people. The club is in the process of getting drop boxes set up around town for these cell phones.

"We are really trying to give back to the community, because it never hurts to help people," remarked Scott.

One of the most recent projects which Scott considers his pet project is the junior fair building fund. As a youth, Scott showed smaller livestock at the Van Wert County Fair. He was also a member for the fair board for awhile, so the fair is a very important community event to him. The fund is designed to raise fund to do repair work on the junior fair buildings. One of the first projects for this fund will be the repair and rebuilding of the restrooms and showers connected to the Babyland building. These were built in the early 70's and are the main showers that the junior fair kids have to use during the fair. A raffle has been put together to raise money for this cause. Tickets are $25, and because the club is a nonprofit organization ticket purchases as well as donations are tax deductible. Among several of the prizes for this raffle include a John Deere Gator.

"I love the fair," praised Scott. "I showed at the fair when I was young. I have grandchildren coming up, and I want the fair to be there for many generations for kids to enjoy. I want this to be an annual fund, so people can drop off money any time of year."

The Van Wert Community Club is currently in its second year. Scott was the club's first president to the newly formed club. As president, his responsibility was to go out and talk to people, take care of all the policies, and bring new ideas of different avenues.

The club meets once a month in different place throughout the community. Scott's favorite part about being part of this club is helping the community. He has lived in Van Wert almost all of his life except for a brief time when he lived in Kentucky. He eventually moved back home to the community that he has always loved so much.

"The direction we are going in a good direction in helping the community. There is not a high cost, but it will send out rewards ten times what you put into it. We are always looking for new members," Scott enthused.

Scott drives a truck for a living, and when he is not out driving, he is searching the internet for ideas for this club. It is very important to him to help the Van Wert community and see it prosper. Scott is hopeful that people will recognize the new club and want to join their cause.