STORY — It takes many volunteers to pull off Story Days, and the town relies on the Lions Club and Story Woman’s Club to lead the charge. However, a nationwide issue shows young people not as involved as older generations in various clubs like these.
Gary Meyer has been an integral part in planning Story Days as president of the Lions Club. The two clubs and a Story Days committee combine to raise funds and organize the three-day event.
“Story is just a rural community that’s unorganized, so we have to have these two groups to hold things together,” Meyer said. “We’re vitally involved in putting on Story Days along with a Story Day committee that’s formed by local individuals.”
Despite the struggle to engage younger generations, Story made an example of how it can be done by easing in younger leaders for the 31st annual Story Days.
Meyer said when people come into Story for the festivities, they don’t see the planning and fundraising efforts that go on five or six months ahead of time. Those groups of volunteers have been primarily an older generation, but Meyer said recently younger folks have stepped up to help continue the tradition.
“With our Story Day committee we’ve been able to get some younger people involved and it’s really working out,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the topic of younger engagement comes up often at club meetings.
“How do we get young people involved?” Meyer said. “No one’s solved the problem yet.”
The Story Days committee is working to figure it out. Zack Houck was invited to participate on the Story Days committee and this year was put in charge of the committee. His passion and love for Story motivated him to step up and do his “due diligence.”
“I was not involved in community projects or anything (before moving to Story),” Houck said. “When we moved here it just struck me, the sense of community, and that I should be participating.”
Houck encourages his friends and the rest of the community to get involved too.
“It’s important and I try to impress upon my friends to get involved in whatever it is they’re passionate about,” Houck said.
The median age for Story’s population of 828, according to City-Data.com, is 53.6 years, and Wyoming’s median age is 37.2 years old. Despite the older age range of those living in Story, Houck said the efforts are not just geared toward improving his personal quality of life, but his children’s lives and generations to come.
“We as young people need to participate in our communities to make them better and improve them,” Houck said. “The catchphrase is ‘quality of life’ and it’s becoming more important, especially to young people.”
Houck believes the quality of life can easily be found in Story, especially with older generations providing funding for potential improvements to the community. While the older generations provide the funding, they want younger generations to determine how those funds are used in hopes of retaining the younger groups.
Story Days serves as an example to other communities on how younger generations can successfully step up and plan events to improve the entire community.