Forgive us, Beaver fans, if we say that we’re still basking in the yellow afterglow of a duck victory.
Don’t get your broad, scaly tails worked into knots. The ducks we’re applauding are fighters, all right, but not on the football field. Instead, they’re small, plastic crusaders for children who really could use some powerful friends.
Saturday’s Rotary Duck Race sent 10,663 bobbing ambassadors of good will into the Umpqua River system, raising $106,300 to combat child abuse and neglect. Organizers had hoped to sell 10,000 ducks to community members and businesses eager for a chance to win numerous prizes, the biggest catch being a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro donated by Clint Newell Auto Group.
Duck Race promoters met their goal, as stated, which is just part of the good news. Also encouraging is the fact that the 2012 race tallied 9,200 ducks. Many of us who opted to enter journalism are dismal mathematicians at best, but even we can get out our abacuses and figure that’s nearly 1,500 tickets more than were sold last year.
Several ticketholders this summer have been telling The News-Review they had big dreams of parking a new Camaro in their garages. But they also followed up the wish with the conviction that win or lose, their dollars were going to a good cause.
In case you missed earlier reports, six county-based agencies will be entrusted with the funds generated from the race. Douglas C.A.R.E.S., which works with children suspected of having been abused, has on its wish list a colposcope. This is a noninvasive instrument that helps determine whether abuse has taken place. If that seems like an odd way to spend money, consider that Douglas C.A.R.E.S. concluded that 180 children referred by police or social service workers had in fact suffered harm at the hands of others. Verifying the abuse enables the agency to deal with it and safeguard children from further atrocities.
Another Duck Race beneficiary is Court Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit group that assigns volunteers to represent children’s best interests in court. Others are the Family Development Center, where mothers and fathers are counseled on good parenting practices, among other services, and Battered Persons’ Advocacy, which seeks to protect the vulnerable from domestic violence.
Safe Haven Maternity and Healthy Start, which round out the six, also apply limited resources to the mission of keeping children safe and on the road to productive lives.
However noble the cause, the Duck Race doesn’t skimp on fun. There’s the spectacle of watching thousands of the sunny-hued quackers dumped in the river and the suspense of following their watery progress. It’s hard to find a better way to spend an August day than surrounded by food, games and socializing in the pastoral River Forks Park, just a short stroll away from the ever-changing Discovery Garden.
We sincerely hope the spike in Duck Race ticket purchases represents confidence that even with our uncertain economy, area residents are able to make a priority of protecting our youngest citizens. With a successful fundraiser behind us, we can all turn our attention forward to rooting for Beavers and those other Ducks.