It’s pretty simple to make someone’s day a little brighter — a combination of church groups, Scouting, Helping Hands, adults and high school-age young people. A combination that lent a helping hand to a Slater resident this past weekend, which will make a difference.

There is a system that makes it work. It’s pretty simple, too. It seems to be working in Slater when Helping Hands, from the local United Methodist Church, the “Venture Crew,” a part of Boy Scout Pack 163 of Bethany Lutheran Church and Thrivent Financial’s “Thrivent Cares” program all put their heads together.

Helping Hands identified the need of Slater resident Barb Johnson. She needed a new porch deck entryway to get into her home. Helping Hands contacted Tony Johnson of Slater, who is the leader of the Venture Crew.

Thrivent Financial awarded the project the funding needed to purchase the materials. Volunteers and Venture Crew members and the funding from Thrivent Cares made it all happen.

Saturday morning the group gathered at Barb Johnson’s home in Slater and it didn’t take long before the hammers were swinging, the saws were cutting, measurements were taken and the work began.

“This is awesome,” commented Barb. “I had no idea how I would have been able to do this. I was contacted and I am so very thankful for all of this taking place.”

A half day of helping others was something that the three Crew members were looking forward to.

“We have fun hiking and camping outings and we have service projects,” said Samantha Johnson. “It’s always good when we can help others.”

For Courtney Thompson, the service project was teaching her about construction.

“I am learning new things doing this,” she commented as she looked the level over a few times to get the bubble in the correct place. “It has a lot to do with helping out and also being part of this group.”

Zak Stohm summed it up in one word, “fun.”

Although all 18 members of the Venture Crew were not a part of the group working on the deck Saturday, they all take turns earning their service hours to work towards different ranks through different projects.

Scout Master Bill White, Troop 163, helped put the project together.

“We are teaching these young people to work together and to do a good turn daily,” he said. “This is just part of being a good citizen.”

Tony Johnson was happy to have a service project for the Venture Crew.

“We want to do more projects with the Helping Hands group,” he said. “We can always use donations and volunteers with the skills we would need for each individual projects. We welcome more members to the Crew as well. If you are 14 to 21 years old and would like to be part of our group, just email us at”

Those helping to build the deck were not the only ones expressing their interest in the project they were working on.

“I really appreciate this,” added Barb. “I am so thankful to all these good people.”