Poison Ivy. The seemingly unidentifiable, itch causing blight on humanity. Why we don’t spend millions of dollars every year trying to rid our planet of this abominable plague I will never know (this may be a reason why people don’t give me millions of dollars). At last week’s Daxko Foundation Impact Day, we ran into our fair share of rash inducing leaves.
We gathered at our office in Homewood and took buses out to Camp Cosby. Located on Lake Logan Martin in Alpine, Camp Cosby is a branch of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham and serves as the main campground for the many outdoor and summer camps the Y offers. On our arrival we were greeted by Kevin Casey, Executive Director. With a gracious smile, which I now think could have been a sly grin, as he knew what we were in for, split us into five groups. Some went painting indoors, some painted the outside of the cabins, others did some gardening and spread pine straw, yet others built a deck and split logs into firewood with a large pneumatic axe (awesome!). Then there were the rest of us; taken out into the woods to pick up and stack firewood, unbeknownst to many of us the danger we were facing.
The amount of cleanup work we were able to accomplish was quite gratifying upon final survey, but after finishing we went off to lunch at the cafeteria. After circulating rumors of the presence of Poison Ivy out in the woods reached every ear, our worst fears were realized when Kevin Casey, standing larger than life on the railing in front of the cafeteria said the following phrase, “I’ve seen a lot of Poison Ivy exposure today!” Oh, the horror! What have we done? Kevin then went on to explain some things we could try and do to stem the tide, but it seemed it may have been too late for us all. We ate, finished our work, rode the buses back and then went and enjoyed our pizza at Dave’s, which, as far as anyone knew, could have been our last meal ever.
The work we did was amazing. Everybody that went did a great job, worked hard, and the Y couldn’t have been any happier. All tallied, the man hours we were able to give that day (about 375), saved their maintenance staff a full week or two of cleanup work so they can focus on other stuff for the kids coming this summer. I can’t think of anything more perfect for what Impact Day is meant to accomplish than that. But the poison ivy, was what we did worth it?
The answer, of course, is yes, it was worth it. In all honesty, I think I’m the only one in the office with a poison ivy rash, and it’s not even that bad. There were some discussions in the woods about what it looked like and what could happen, but I was proud of everyone because no one stopped working; even when they knew they had been exposed and could be in for an itchy sort of week, possibly pink in color from the calamine lotion and drowsy from the Benadryl. But we stuck it out. Everyday life can be like this. Every day we face choices to do good in the life of someone around us. Don’t miss these opportunities because of the “poison ivy”; don’t give in to fear of the unknown, and know that the good you do is always worth it!