By Edith Buck with Dorothy Gray
Adjacent to the South Whidbey High School on Maxwelton Road, just north of highway 525, lie forty-three acres of prime land. Once overgrown and primeval, it has become a backdrop for a vision that is taking form — a vision that has been years coming into focus.
It was in 1977 that Tim Scriven, a young man born and raised on South Whidbey, first began to dream the dream that would draw the widespread area of South Whidbey into a common nucleus — a community center that would meet the needs of all its people.
Inspired by the founders of our nation, Tim realized the principles on which they built our country are the same principles on which a community center such as he envisioned should be built. The social, economic and political elements of a community are as interwoven as are those of a great nation. With this in mind, Tim began thinking his thoughts, dreaming his dreams, and praying his prayers. Neither he nor the people of the community who were to become involved had any idea of the mammoth steps that were about to be taken. Nor had they any idea of the miracles that were about to unfold.
For three years, from 1977 to 1980, Tim talked to people. He talked to people on the street, people at work, people in their homes — doctors, lawyers, merchants, teachers, bankers, politicians, churchmen, parents, teenagers, retirees. Tim talked about his dream to everyone who would listen, and there were many who did.
As these listeners heard what the man from South Whidbey had to say, they had questions and Tim gave them answers that proved the insight and depth of his dream. With a community center, where young and old work and play together, study and learn side by side, there would be less alcohol and drug abuse, so–less crime. The young would be inspired by the old, the old motivated by the young. Mutual interests and concerns would foster respect and understanding–even love for one another. With less crime, there would be less need to fight it and rehabilitate criminals. Looking towards the growth of the island, it is conceivable that people who contribute to a community’s economy and political stability–retired and working people–individuals and families–will be attracted to this area. For the tax-payer, a positive investment backed by voluntarism and donations from groups and individuals, would guarantee a positive return, and offset money otherwise spent rehabilitating people.
Just as the trees on the forty-three acres were cut down one by one, so have the obstacles that stood in the way of the vision been removed one by one. The trees were felled by saw and bulldozer. Obstacles to the vision have been felled by prayer and faith. Each step has been a step of trust — trust in one another, trust in a mutual desire to be united in a common endeavor, trust in the future of our Island, and trust in God.
Tim Striven searched the south end of the Island before he found the ideal forty-three acre site. He knew at once he had found what he was looking for, the ideal spot for the Center. We received the insight for this from Sigfried Semeru, past director of Parks and Recreation for the City ofBellevue.
Purchasing those acres from the late Bernard Waterman, and his wife Margaret was the first obstacle to overcome. The land was valuable and pockets were empty. In January of 1981, nine men–Bruce Anderson, Tony Shults, Bruce Groom, Scott Mickelson, Wally Lehman, Jim Porter, TimScriven, Steve Shapiro, and Mike Shelton–formed an ad hoc committee headed by Tim and organized for the purpose of acquiring the property. The land was offered for $80,000 cash to be paid within two months. An option agreement specifying this was signed by Bud Waterman and Tim Scriven.
$80,000 was $80,000 more than any interested person had. However, in February, the committee witnessed the removal of this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Scott Mickelson surveyed and appraised the standing timber on the property. It was found to be worth $120,000. Mr. Waterman again was approached and this time asked to consider clear-cutting seventy percent of the land, keeping all proceeds from the timber and donating the land for the Community Center once the ad hoc committee received its non-profit status.
Bud Waterman agreed to the proposal. His generosity plus a total of approximately $12,000 which was raised in forty-five days through donations from committee members and members of the community, made the purchase of the land possible. Although Bud Waterman’s death occurred before the land was actually transferred, he played a key role in this first miracle. He and his wife Margaret will be remembered for this contribution of land which lies close to property they donated to the South Whidbey School District.
Mike Shelton of Island Septic, performed a preliminary analysis of the soils, proving excellent drainage and percolation. Articles incorporating South Whidbey Recreation were drafted by attorney Adolf Koch of Freeland.
When the Bylaws were drafted in March by Judy Yeakel, everyone knew the vision was beginning to assume tangible shape. Ross Jacobson of Keller, Jacobson, Hole, Jackson and Snodgrass, a law firm of Bellevue, successfully coordinated the steps necessary in helping the group receive its nonprofit status from the federal government. South Whidbey Recreation received this status in April.
Ross Jacobson has been with the project to the present time. He has not only donated his personal time, but the expenses of his office as well! To date, his contributions are conservatively estimated at $12,000.
Mid-summer of ’81 was a busy time when many big steps were taken. The South Whidbey Recreation Board was formed, with Tim Scriven as president; Jim Porter, secretary; Steve Shapiro, treasurer; Bruce Anderson and Tony Shults, members. Tony, a graduate of Langley High School and part owner of The Quorum, a graphic design company of Clinton, took time from his business and his duties as a board member to design the logo and numerous other projects–handouts, informational booklet, conceptual drawings, maps, etc. The Center’s emblem is now on caps, T-shirts and on the sign that marks the entrance to the site on Maxwelton Road.
In September the property transfer was completed by Jack and Jenny Barrett of the Pacific Northwest Escrow service and the Island Title Co. This transfer was coordinated by Tim Scriven of Marine Land Realty in Freeland.
With the coming of 1982, more miracles took place. As a rock dropped into a quiet lake causes rings to reach out and out, the idea of the Community Center was reaching beyond the Island.
Already, Bellevue had been touched when attorney Ross Jacobson became interested, as did Lee Springgate, Director of that city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Now the rings reached Bellingham. In February of ’82, fifty Western Washington University students, under the direction of Dr. Jim Moore of the University’s Parks and Recreation Department, conducted a survey to determine the recreational preferences of the people ofSouth Whidbey. This was a $5,000 project donated by Western Washington University.
It was also during the month of February that Jack Siebert of Clinton directed a topographic survey of the forty-three acres. Mr. Siebert served as chief surveyor, assisted by volunteer rodmen Chris Barker, John Condon, Mike Denker, Scott McNeil, Tim Scriven and Bob Shipek. KentOthberg also did surveying. The entire project was valued at $6,000.
Useless Bay Golf and Country Club was the scene of a South Whidbey Recreation dinner in April. John Watson was the master of ceremonies and distinguished speakers made the evening a memorable one. Those who spoke were Senator Jack Metcalf of Langley, attorney Ross Jacobson of Belleveu, Lee Springgate of Bellevue, Steve Shapiro of Langley, and Cary Bozeman, Mayor and Director of Boys and Girls Clubs for the city of Bellevue.
May of 1982 saw a complete soil analysis of the property done by Bob Mach of Shorty’s Truckin’ Co. The work was valued at $750. This included thirty soil log holes, a documentation of his findings from each hole and placing this report on file with the Island County Health Department, Kevin Berry of the Health Department was on the site during the time this work was being done.
The work Bob Moch did was made possible by the four roads that Albert Gabelein of Albert Gabelein Construction built through the property. Further bulldozing was done in June by Wally Lehman and Dave Anderson. Johnny Gabelein transported Dave’s dozer to the site, and Randy Bradley transported it from the site. Fuel was generously donated and delivered to those workmen by Emmett Kramer.
This same month of June, seeking County approval for development of the land, Jean Wallin wrote a Conditional Use Permit. This permit was issued by the Board of Adjustment.
Johnny and Dora Gabelein gave a twenty foot easement to the site and a forty foot easement was acquired from the South Whidbey School District. The legal aspects of both of these transactions were worked out by Ross Jacobson.
No work such as is being done on the forty-three acres on Maxwelton Road is complete without photographs–photographs to both document the progress of the work and to preserve history in the making. Aerial photographs were made in August ’82 by Chris Barker snapping the shutter while Jim Woods piloted the plane Bob Porter loaned for the occasion. Keith Gunnar also took pictures from the ground. More photographs will be made to record all phases of the work as the project progresses.
This was the month that an informational booklet was prepared for distribution. Tony Shults again used his time and talents to make the layout and the graphics, while Tim Scriven and Sue Ellen Hanson, a professional writer, wrote the text.
Recreation activities of busy 1982 ended with Dr. Jim Talbot, president of Western Washington University, speaking at a meeting on November 11. Dr. Talbot promised additional help from the University when and where possible.
In March of 1983 a non-profit organization, Help Inc., dissolved, leaving approximately $8,500 to South Whidbey Recreation. Jeff Handley, Carol McNeil, Ernie Noble, Bonny Arndt, and Alex Pong were Board members of Help Inc. at this time. Tim Scriven made the request for the donation on behalf of South Whidbey Recreation.
In 1983 with the establishment of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, those people of the community who did not listen when the man from South Whidbey first talked and those who were skeptical, could now see for themselves the plans for a Community Center were sincere. Steve Shapiro and Debi Valis, Jim and Karrie Porter, Judy Yeakel, Tim and Georgia Scriven, Dorothy McCann and Dorothy Gray, people from different professions and different interests, all were instrumental in the establishment of the District.
The birth of the new District means that the old South Whidbey Recreation needed to be dissolved. Ross Jacobson was instrumental in doing this, and in distributing the South Whidbey Recreation assets to the District. The new organization faces serious challenges with many questions to answer and problems to solve. These challenges and problems will be aptly met under the expertise of the present District Board–Dave Anderson, Al Good, Jim Porter, Steve Shapiro and Judy Yeakel.
The National Guard was approached through the Office of Governor Spellman, and asked to clear the property. They were unable to do the work because they lacked the necessary equipment and were too far away to make it feasible for their purposes.
Knowing the property would eventually be cleared, it was necessary to put up gates. This, Bill Baller did. He constructed cable gates at both entrances. And two months later in August, a sign bearing the logo of the Center was built by Danny Bayha, Tim DeMartini and Dick Scriven. Placing the sign on Maxwelton Road was made possible by donations from Gary Heys family, Betty Harris and the South Whidbey Kiwanis Club. TimScriven coordinated this volunteer project, and Bill Baller and Tim placed the sign in its present location.
What is such a serious endeavor as building a Community Center without fun and laughter mixed in! There is an adage that begins, “All work and no play…” Have you ever joined in a community-spirited Volks March and a Langley Fun Run? Ruth Rhodes of Island Accounting and June Bell of June’s Draperies, organized the Volks March which the Langley Chamber of Commerce sponsored. All proceeds went to benefit the Community Center. It was a great time!
The Langley Fun Run was just that–a fun run. It was sponsored by the South Whidbey Brokers Association and again, the Langley Chamber of Commerce put on the annual event. The Langley Chamber of Commerce donated $1,000 to the Center.
1984 began with a bang! What could be more exciting or more encouraging than to see an imposing sign marking the very site of where there will eventually be buildings and paths and busy-ness? In February, Judy McVay and Steve Backus completed carving the eight 12in. by 16ft. planks that were donated by Waterman Mill. The sign was burned by Boaz Backus who, as Vice President of the South Whidbey High School student body, had asked Tim to speak to the students about the Center. Arlene Roe also helped finish the sign. The Mill also donated three 24ft. cedar poles that were to bear the sign. The poles were delivered to the site by Scott Mickelson and Todd Brager.
Using an 18-inch auger loaned by Greg Smith of Greg’s Rent-A-Tool of Bayview, Jim Striven drilled the holes for the poles. Dick Scriven and Bill Bailer assembled the sign, bolting the planks onto the poles. Gene Paremelee and Keith Iverson donated the use of the Island Sand and Gravel Company boom truck to place the sign in the ground. Keith Iverson, Jim Scriven, John Little, Dick Scriven and Tim Scriven put the sign in place. It is there now, a sign that cannot be missed, standing next to South Whidbey High School Campus and marking the site of a vision; “SOUTH WHIDBEY COMMUNITY CENTER”. This entire project was conceived and coordinated by Tim Scriven.
The clearing of the land still needed to be done! Tim Scriven, Dorothy Gray and Dorothy McCann made an informal request to the Naval Air Station for their help. The initial request of these three was followed by a formal request which Al Good made on behalf of the South Whidbey Parksand Recreation District. Remember the rings that were reaching out? Now they were touching the U.S. Navy,
CB Unit-47 will be working in phases at their convenience to clear approximately thirty acres of stumps and slash. When completed, this work will be valued at $800 per acre.
Yes, those rings were spreading far. First the immediate community was touched, then all of South Whidbey. The rings widened, touchingWestern Washington University and a law firm in Bellevue. They found their way to Olympia. Senator Jack Metcalf of the State Senate, and also a member of this community, had already spoken at a dinner on behalf of the Center. He continued to give his encouragement and support. Governor John Spellman learned what was happening on the south end of this Island, and he responded with a letter of endorsement, as did his wife, Lois. The Washington State Governor’s Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service was given to Tim Striven in April, 1983, for the work he had done. All of the people of the community were commended by the Governor for their outstanding volunteer contributions.
The area touched by a vision for South Whidbey was becoming larger and larger. Even Washington D.C. was touched. Dorothy Gray of Freeland wrote to President Reagan telling him what was taking place in this far-flung corner of the nation, and he responded with a personal letter, Mr. Reagan commended Tim for his foresight and efforts:
“Dear Mr. Scriven:
Word has come to me of your remarkable volunteer efforts on behalf of your community. I understand as the founder ofSouth Whidbey Recreation, you are the driving force behind the building of a community center where the young and old will come together and share their talents and experiences.
Your efforts and the efforts of everyone involved in this project reflect the best American spirit of voluntarism and goodwill. I commend your fine example.
My best wishes for every success, and God Bless you.
No one person could possibly have accomplished all that has been done. No one person will finish all that remains to be completed before the Community Center is a living, active organism. The roster of names is long and will continue to grow.
And the outreach of the Center will continue to spread. Dr. Jim Moore and Dr. Ron Riggins, of Western Washington University, have expressed a desire to keep the University involved with the Center and to learn from its success. These men are looking forward to sharing the success of the Center through articles in the Washington State Parks and Recreation Journal and other professional journals.
There have been other fund raising events besides the Volks March of August ’83 and the Langley Fun Run. There has been a booth where Orange Frosties were sold at two Island County Fairs–the Fair of ’82 and again in ’83. Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Inc. furnished all materials needed for the sign which was painted by Gary Piper. The Frosties were sold by twenty-five volunteers under a protective awning made by June Bell. The frame work for the awning was built by Denny Smith. Fun? Of course. The Fair is always fun and it is a place where a Community Center should be promoted. Fairs–fun–community spirit–all symbolic of the old-fashioned, American spirit that has made our country great.
In May of ’82, those who like to dance had an unforgettable opportunity to do so and to help with the Center at the same time. A benefit dance was held at the American Legion Hall where music made by the Desoto’s filled the air. Organized by Anna Unum, it was a success.
Now that it is close to being a reality, people are asking, “Just what will this Community Center do? How will it achieve its goals?” And the answer is, it will bring well founded organizations together-organizations such as the Historical Society, theater groups, and civic groups. There will be special events–tournaments, rodeos, horse shows, more fun runs. More Fairs. More Orange Frosties. More Volks Marches. There will be education classes in the arts and in crafts, workshops, forums, seminars. The list is endless. It will be the hub of activity where young and old rub shoulders and learn from each other. There will be communication and “Communication”. Ralph Emerson wrote, “is the key to understanding. “Where there is understanding, there is unity.
Tim Scriven likes to tell a story about a little boy who wanted to catch a sun sparkle from off the water in the bay. We have all seen the sun sparkles around our Island. Who hasn’t wanted to catch one and keep it? The little boy tried. He took an eye dropper and very carefully picked the sparkle off the tip of the wavelet. Gently, he put it in a jar, But alas. By itself, the sparkle was only a drop of water. Why? Because it needed the rest of the bay to help it shine.
So has it been with the building of the Community Center. It began as one man’s dream, his vision, but by himself it is nothing. For his vision to sparkle, Tim needed the help of all those who have stepped forward and offered what they had to offer–be it money, muscle, or moral support. He needed the help of individuals-their expertise. He needed the help of organizations with their advice. That is why South Whidbey Lions Club, Kiwanis and Rotary stepped forward and so generously gave of their support.
Tim is a sincere patriot, a man who loves his country. Without his love for his country and for the principles on which it is founded, his vision would not have taken on the dimensions it has taken. He believes with Benjamin Franklin, that “United we stand, divided we fall.” Tim wants South Whidbey and the Community Center to stand. With people being united in this common effort, they will do just that–stand. With unity, and with concern for one another and with an understanding of the principles of our country’s founding, what is happening in America today–the negative things that are destroying morale and family units-minds and bodies-need not happen to any great degree here on South Whidbey.
Giving birth to a vision is not without pain. There have been disappointments and frustrations, doubts and fears. Yes, doubts. For how can you have faith when there are no doubts? There have been frictions and disputes like the tax dispute between South Whidbey Recreation and the Island County Assessors Office. All of that is history now, happily resolved through the efforts of Ross Jacobson who once again gave of his talents and time. He was supported in every detail by Island County Prosecuting Attorney, David Thiele and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Allen Handcock.
Each disappointment or fear, as well as each step of development, has only represented another obstacle to be felled by prayer and faith. Each trial has been transformed into a miracle because Tim continued to pray. And he kept his faith. Men with a vision do that–pray and keep faith. Tim has faith in the Community Center, that it will be all it is intended to be. He has faith in the people who are helping and who will continue with what is begun. But this man has an even greater faith in God. He has never doubted that through God, his vision could be manifested. “If I catch the sun’s sparkle,” he said, “it’s by God’s arrangement. You have to be humble when serving Him.”
King Solomon wrote in his Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The South Whidbey Community Center would never have come into being without the vision of a man and the willing, unselfish cooperation of the people of the community.
C 1984 Edith Buck
Typing courtesy: Linda Colley
Additional copies available
at: Southend Office Service
Freeland, WA 98249
ROSTER OF CONTRIBUTORS
Allardice, Doug Anderson, Bruce Anderson, Dave Anderson, Judi Anderson, Karen Arndt, Bonny
Backus, Steve Bailer, Bill Barker, Chris Barrett, Jack Barrett, Jenny Bayha, Danny Bell, June Berry, Kevin
Bower, Bernita Bower, Chuck Bozeman, Cary Bragor, Todd Brown, Barry Brown, Dane Busch, Mrs.
Butler, Ed Buck, Edith
Colley, Linda Condon, John Corosi, Stefno Cortez, Herman
Delmonte, Dianne Delmonte, Richard Delmonte, Tim Denker, Mike
Flem, Robin Fong, AlexFuller, Hazel Fuller, Shorty
Gabelein, Albert Gabelein, Arthur Gabelein, Dora Gabelein, Emil Gabelein, Gladys Gabelein, Johnny Gabelein, Stan
Gavin, Becky Gavin, Terry Good, Al Good, Peg Gray, Dorothy Grebill, Bob Grebill, Jane Groom, Bruce
Groom, Cindy Gunner, Keith
Handley, Jeff Hansen, Sue Ellen Hansen, Sue Hansen, Terry Hanson, Bill Hanson, Carole Hanson, Donna
Hanson, Vic Harris, Betty Hebert, Sue Hunt, Herb Hunt, Leta Hunt, Trainer
Jacobson, Ross Kniseley, Jack Kniseley, Pam Koch, Adolph Kramer, Emmett
Lafort, Betty** Lehman, Betty** Lehman, Wallie** Little, John
Maynard, Jim McCann, Dorothy McNeill, Carol McNeill, Scott McVay, Judy Metcalf, Jack Mock, Bob
Moore, Jim Murray, Mr. & Mrs. Edwin Mickelson, Scott
Nelson, Ed Noble, Ernie
O’Neill, Pat Othberg, Kent
Parmalee, Gene Porter, Bob Porter, Jim Porter, Kerrie Prael, Ric Primavira, Anne Primavira, Vic
Randall, Jean Reagan, Ronald Renwick, Mary Reyes, Gary & family Rhodes, Ruth Rowe, Jean Royer, Father (dec)
Scriven. Dick Scriven, Georgia Scriven, Jim Scriven, Tim Schmidt, Phyllis Schroeder, Rick Schroeder, Ronnie
Shafer, Jackie Shapiro, Debra Shapiro, Steve Shelton, Marla Shelton, Mike Shipek, Bob Shults, Jeanie Shults, Tony
Siebert, Jack Smith, Cindy Smith, Debra Smith, Dennis Smith, Earl Smith, Greg Smith, Louise Spellman, John
Spellman, Lois Springgate, Lee
Talbot, Jim Thayer, Hanford Thayer, Lois Thiele, David Thomas, Jon Thompson, Sallie Tippery, Linda Tippery, Wayne
Wallin, Craig Wallin, Jean Waterman, Bernard (dec) Waterman, Margaret Watson, John White, Steve White, Wanda
Whitehead, Demaris Whitehead, Robert Wood, Jim
AMERICAN LEGION; S.W. BROKERS ASSOCIATION; CLINTON FOODMART; ISLAND THEATRE, INC.
ISLAND TITLE COMPANY; S.W. KIWANIS CLUB; LANGLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
LANGLEY CLINIC; LIONS CLUB; L and T ASSOCIATES; MAHINE LAND REALTY; NAVAL AIR STATION
NICHOLS BROTHERS BOAT BUILDERS; PACIFIC NORTHWEST ESCROW; S.W. SCHOOL DISTRICT
UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH; WATERMAN’S MILL; WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
WILLARD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
Text of green document at the beginning of this book:
PUBLIC LAW 97-280-00T. 4. 1982 96 STAT. 1211
Public Law 97-280
Whereas the Bible, the Word or God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;
Whereas deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation;
Whereas Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of theUnited States;
Whereas many of our great national leaders—among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson—paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as in the words of President Jackson that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests”;
Whereas the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families and societies;
Whereas this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before, and;
Whereas that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people. Now, therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: That the President is authorized and requested to designate 1983 as the “Year of the Bible.” In recognition of both the formative influence the Bible has for our Nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
Approved October 4, 1982 United States Senate
“I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that built it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may be hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.”