On March 26, 2015, the McPherson Early Childhood Program received an unexpected gift from 1st Class Scout, Rhys Vanderhoof: 529 pre-school level books. For the previous month, Vanderhoof had been collecting these to present at the Literacy Event.
As part of his requirements to reach Star Scout rank, Vanderhoof needed to complete a project totaling 6 service hours. An avid reader, he chose to seek donations of books, particularly Dr. Seuss publications, targeted to early readers. “I began reading at an early age and it opened up a whole new world for me. It’s been helpful to me at school and I want other children to have that same experience. I thought it would be fun to do this in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday”, said Vanderhoof.
Vanderhoof contacted the principals of all the local schools, members of his church, the libraries at Central Christian and McPherson Colleges, the Optimist Club, friends and family members seeking assistance in reaching his original goal of 140 books. In most cases he provided a box and signage and then arranged to pick up the boxes to inventory and sort the books.
Penny Stoss, director of the Early Childhood Program said, “After the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program was discontinued, the McPherson Early Childhood Program has had a difficult time filling a much needed gap in services. The RIF program allowed us to get books into the hands of our students and families. Rhys filled this gap by collecting books for our family literacy program. The Early Childhood Program is very thankful for his hard work and dedication to assist us in getting books to kids!" With Vanderhoof’s assistance, staff of the Early Childhood Program delivered books to attendees of the literacy event.
Vanderhoof is a member of Boy Scout Troop 133, chartered by Trinity Lutheran Church in McPherson. Troop 133 is one of three Boy Scouts of America units that serve the youth of the City of McPherson. The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest youth development organizations.