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West End News Dec. 3, 2009

Dave and Amy
Dave and Amy

WestEnd_20091204.mp36.03 MB

We should have expected that the perfect ice on Sawbill Lake would not last, and sure enough the temperature stayed above freezing, the ice melted and for one more year wilderness skating disappeared. Now the temperature is low enough, but snow is falling, which will ruin skating, so get out the cross-country skis.

The Christmas season would not be the same without the familiar Salvation Army red kettles. I can remember the kettles when I was small, and that is a while back. When my grandfather and I saw a kettle he would give me a few coins to put in. He would follow up with a couple of bills. I wonder when the kettles first started.

Once each year the Christian Science Monitor newspaper publishes a special issue about charitable giving. This issue was just published. One of the features of this issue is a list of the 50 largest charities in terms of dollars collected by each charity.

The Salvation Army has the largest income of all the charities. It also has the smallest administrative expense; the lowest paid administrators, and the largest proportion of funds collected spent on the support of the Army's many projects. Every rating agency gives the Salvation Army an A rating, the highest possible rating.

All of this allows me to feel some comfort when I throw my change into the kettle. I feel I know the money will be well used.

Dave Freeman, the founder of the Wilderness Inquiry educational program, and Amy are full of plans for the immediate future. Dave left today to truck equipment and supplies all the way to Inuvit, which is in the far northwestern corner of the Northwest Territories. The trip will take a week both ways. On the way he will drop off supplies and equipment for the trip he and Amy will take next spring as far as Skagway, Alaska. That will be the first part of a multi-year expedition, which will eventually cross the continent. Dave does not think small.

The expedition will start with kayak travel; but will also use dogsled travel and who knows what else. Their most recent trip across South America used custom-built bicycles for part of the trip. Dave and Amy stay in contact with thousands of schoolchildren enrolled in the Wilderness Inquiry program by way of satellite and laptop computer while they are progressing on their trips. The detailed preparation for these trips is awesome.

Remember that I want to list outstanding holiday displays in the West End. Many displays are already in place. Call soon and I will list them in the column that is published at I would like to be called before Dec. 14 so that I may get the list in the column published and broadcast later that week.