The Great Minnesota Do-Good-Together

September 10, 2012 | 4:41 p.m.

On the last day of Welcome Week, freshmen and transfer students used their time at the fair to serve others

Liz Carlson | for The Clarion

The Great Minnesota Do-Good-Together

Bethel students visited and served at the State Fair for Welcome Week activities.

Bethel’s Welcome Week 2012 consisted of four days filled with activities for incoming freshmen, ranging from small group activities to a campus-wide, interactive version of the popular board game Clue. By Sunday, it seemed as though the events were finally winding down.  But there was one final hurrah still to come.

On Sunday Aug. 26, after a morning church service at Bethel, groups of freshmen were ushered towards buses that would bring them to their afternoon service projects. Two of these buses were headed for a Salvation Army location mere blocks from “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

After arriving at the Salvation Army, Volunteer Services Director Tom McKee passed out “Bethel Cards,” or Bingo-inspired pieces of paper with random acts of kindness to be completed in service of fair-goers.  Activities included asking an elderly person their earliest memory of the fair and listening to their story, making a pathway for a stroller, and giving away water bottles and backpacks provided by the Salvation Army.  With nearly record-setting attendance numbers at 1,788,512 over the twelve days of the fair, there was no lack of people to serve.

One of the favorite experiences for a group of Getsch girls was buying food for a woman who was confused about their intentions. “When we were walking away after giving her the cheese curds she was like, ‘That’s it?’” freshman Karli Persson said of the experience.  Freshman Jocelyn Johnson’s favorite part was how the woman continually asked, “What’s the catch?” over and over as they tried to explain to her what they wanted to do.  They were finally able to convince her that they were simply doing a good deed and were representing the Salvation Army.

Also in this group was Lindsay Edeen who “loved seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids we gave toys and necklaces to.”  Two more of the suggestions on the Bethel Card included winning a toy at Midway and giving it to a child, and making necklaces at one of the booths and handing them out.  

What began as any other Sunday afternoon ended up being an adventure at the fair that most Minnesota-raised Bethel freshmen have never experienced before.  The Minnesota State Fair is known as one of the greatest Midwestern events, perfect for a carefree day full of delicious treats and entertainment. Who knew it could also provide an incredible opportunity to “be the hands and feet of Jesus” and “serve suffering humanity through intentional outreach” as the Northern Division of the Salvation Army’s mission says?

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