Among the rites of late spring or early summer in our area has been the annual return of pink flamingos to the lawns in front of residences and businesses.
Be warned - the flock is about to descend once again, and while just about everyone is able to laugh when the pink, plastic wire-legged creatures are spotted in his or her yard or the yard of a neighbor, it's important to remember that the birds are part of a learning exercise.
Members of the Youth Advisory Committee of the Community Foundation of Jefferson County use the flamingos as a instrument to raise money that is then used to help others.
Here's how it works: members of the YAC and foundation officials select the first landing spots for the birds. The flock comes with a packet explaining what is needed to get the flamingos to find another resting spot. That process includes a donation to the foundation and an address to which the birds can be relocated.
If you want to be sure the flamingos don't land at your house or place of business, you can purchase flamingo insurance, with policies starting at a $25 donation to the foundation, by calling (740) 284-9700.
All money raised through the project, which starts Monday, will help the YAC, which includes students from Jefferson County high schools, continue its mission of improving the lives of young people through the development of educational and career opportunities. Since the project was started in 2003, nearly $50,000 has been donated to 80 youth-oriented nonprofit organizations that positively affect Jefferson County residents 21 and younger.
YAC members make those donations in the form of grants.
They take their jobs very seriously, spending many hours reviewing applications, meeting with group leaders and conducting site visits. It's a real-life educational experience that helps prepare them to take on community leadership roles in the future.
We hope you will participate in this year's flamingo fundraiser, by making a donation and purchasing your insurance policy. If you don't, you could end up with the plastic flock in front of your home.
Consider yourself warned.