3/3/2009 - Let the fun commence
Volunteers remain key to success of annual AFS Fun Night event
By Bob Fenske
Of The Summit
FOREST CITY - AFS Fun Night is – without a doubt – the biggest party of the year in Forest City, and it’s been that way for more than 40 years.
Friday night, the tradition continues. There will be scores of carnival games, the always-popular cake walk and enough carnival food to get us to the summer fair season.
And there will be one other ongoing tradition – volunteerism – in action.
“It’s what makes it work,” said AFS Fun Night Committee Co-Chair Eunice Clouse. “The number of people who step up to help us on Fun Night, that’s one of the reasons we keep doing this. A lot of times, we don’t even have to ask. When [Friday] night’s over, they’ll say, ‘See you next year.’”
The annual Fun Night raises money for the local American Field Studies chapter that has hosted 82 foreign-exchange students since its inception in 1965 and has helped almost 60 Forest City students spend a year abroad.
The volunteers who make it happen range from longtime committee members like Clouse and Karen Monson to cake-walk caller Harlan Rodberg to guess-your-weight folks like Mayor George Wilson and his wife, Liz.
But they also include an almost-annual influx of new young volunteers, like the 30-plus Forest City High School Student Council members who will man booths throughout the high school gym and wrestling room.
“When we talked about it, I reminded them about how much fun they had at Fun Nigh when they were kids,” Student Council Advisor Cathy Olson said, “and they started talking about it like it was yesterday, but I think all of us who have lived here remember it.
“I mean my sister still talks about winning a cake when she went to Fun Night, and that was in the ‘60s. When you really think about it, it’s a pretty amazing event.”
That warms the heart of committee members. Clouse believes Fun Night may be one of the best advertisements the AFS program can have.
“I know people have become interested in being host parents because of Fun Night,” she said, “and that’s really our No. 1 goal.”