The prestige that the Holting Quiz Bowl Team brings is quite a story and has been for a couple of years now.  The team this year is mostly seniors and they have once again earned their way into the national competition where as many as 300 or more schools gather in Atlanta May 26-28 to go head to head on speed, knowledge and teamwork to work to bring home the brass to their community and take the bragging rights.

With Andy O being on hand in Holton 2 days a week to help with a Read Muskegon program to help some younger students with reading comprehension, it's a pretty safe bet that there's a camera in the car and that if asked, it will roll on events and happenings in the community and school to show off the great community in the north part of the county that sticks together so well.

Today, we were honored to be invited with the camera to watch the High School and Middle School celebrate their Ride With Pride event.  One student walked away with a very nice pre owned vehicle from Fremont Ford and most of the rest of the kids got everything from pop and candy to pop up tents and more for being amazing students and exemplifying all that makes a Red Devil.  Enjoy the show.  

Like most of our stories, we go where we're invited.  We got a note from David Elliot who's a very active father in the world of his girls and Beach Softball in the Fruitport area and all that it does for the young people who've been a part of it for years.  On the one hand, imagine a problem where too many kids are out involved deeply in athletics and their parents are there supporting them through the endeavors...that's what's happening here and in leagues all across Muskegon County and further out.  On the other hand, finding space and time for the teams to adequately practice and plat is an ever growing challenge and yes, thigs can get frustrating.  So, the Township is where the frustrations come out and in that setting, it can be hard to present the hopes and needs and it can also be something that popped up on the board and might take a little more looking into.

It's been just over a year since the groundbreaking of Adelaide Pointe in Muskegon.  This development has been received with a mix of support and some who think different of it.  As we've watched year after year of those who have come and gone in and out of Muskegon making promises and then vanishing....it's inarguable that Ryan and Emily Leestma have stuck to their word in delivering a world class spot in our community and as we welcome them as a sponsor, we are going to begin to show you just how incredible this is going to be as construction is beginning the end stage, and things are going to start happening. 

Kolton Woods learned a lot more in his time away at college than how to accurately forecast the weather and look nice doing it.  Kolton learned that one of the most important parts of getting your learn on is being able to share what you know and the platform you operate on with others.  As the last few weeks of his time unfolded with us, one day, up popped a message.... "Hey Andy, are you giving any thought to who might take over?  I have an idea for you".

Word of mouth gets around.  I was heading in to my reading tutoring gig in Holton along with School Board President Amy Brookhouse and she said "Did you hear what happened in Ravenna last night?"  As she told me the story, I pulled out my phone and began to Google the Ravenna Livestock Auction.  One, because what had happened out there was nothing short of a miracle and two, it's one of the areas we just don't hear enough about in Muskegon County.  It's not because there's not an equally amount of great things happening in our rural communities, I simply don't know who to get a hold of in some of them.  This story wasn't getting past me though. 

Like most of us, I am a wee bit nervous around a bee.  One bee sting as a kid pretty much sets the tone for a lifetime when it comes to what to be on the lookout for when it comes to things that fly and hurt you.  Kim Wood wants you to think a little differently though, she's a bee keeper with hives all over the county and wants you to know more about bees and what is really the case, and you my friend are in for a 4 year degree in about 17 minutes.

The website isn't all bells and whistles and eyepopping graphics.  The approach is humble, genuine and affordable to almost anyone who wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  The beginnings were like most things here in Muskegon...small, but very needed and today, the Muskegon County Men Who Care have tallied up nearly half a million dollars for organizations in need.  Tell me again how Muskegon isn't a town filled with miracles?  Bill O'Brien invited me down to learn a little more. 

We've been following the work of Jeff and his wife for a while.  They founded Kids Belong as they learned about their calling to foster and adopt, as well as have a family of their own.  Over the years, the estimate is that somewhere about 80-90 kids have been through their home....some for a short time, others to stay for good.  The level of dedication and devotion to those who they have been blessed to bring home has been a staggering amount of love in action and with their extensive experience in the fostering and adoption system, they found a gap that needed to be addressed.  How to help a young person aging out of foster care.  It's a pivotal moment in a life.

I have to confess, I was out driving around quite a few months ago and as I was coming in to town on Apple Ave, off to the right, I was shocked to see a stunning new building standing there.  Not a car in the parking lot, just the brilliance of new construction, fresh pavement and newly planted landscaping surrounding the entire property.  I honestly felt kind of upset with myself for not knowing more.  I turned around and went back for another look and to see that it was a brand new immense VA Clinic immediately gave me a feeling of incredible satisfaction.  Having a father in law who's travels to Wyoming are getting more difficult for services and a community filled with those who served that truly are entitled to top tier care....I breathed a sigh of relief, and started making calls to get the first look inside.

Having been a part of it, I can tell you fist hand the value and the importance of a summer camp.  I was a camp counsellor for one summer in 1991 at a YMCA Camp, I learned more about myself and watched kids from all walks of life form friendships almost instantly and learn that they had more in common than than anything else.  They also had a chance to be a part of an incredibly positive learning experience that was not quite as rigid as school and where the day to day hierarchy among friends was tipped just enough that everyone was the cool kid and everyone got a chance to shine.  I treasured the memory so much, I kept it to the one summer, and closed the chapter on camp counselling.  Your kids have a chance to experience it too and McKenna Speed from the Muskegon YMCA is here to share.  

It's a stunning site to behold to say the very least.  Where once sat a cornerstone of the community and a place that held so many memories...both of life's most joy filled moments as well as sorrowful goodbyes, has risen a place where the future of the young people attending Muskegon Public Schools will be given the opportunity to become anyone they want to be.  It's a structure as much as it is a community screaming their support for those who are coming down the road behind us that they are the focus.  There's a larger message too.  The days of "what was" in Muskegon, they are being carefully curated, but we're shrugging off that idea that we're surrounded by communities "better than us", and we're stepping up to the forefront.  Welcome to Charles Hackley Middle School.