Free Wash

    “Free Wash,” New Era, Mar. 1988, 47

    Special Issue:

    Free Wash

    It seems like we’re always asking people in our ward (Centerville Fifth, Centerville Utah South Stake) to contribute something to the youth.

    For example, as a Mia Maid, I’ve been to practically every home in the ward to see if we could wash their windows, or sell them pizza, or get the whole family to come to a fund-raising dinner. The Aaronic Priesthood does the same thing—they’ve tried power raking lawns, selling light bulbs, even holding “slave auctions.”

    And the people in the ward do try to support us as much as they can. So our leaders suggested that it was about time we said thanks. What’s more, they even suggested a way—a car wash.

    I can hear you already. A car wash. That’s not a way of saying thanks. That’s another fund-raising idea, and not a very original one at that. But this car wash wasn’t to make money. We were going to clean every car in the ward—for free.

    “Think of it as our way of saying thanks to everybody who’s helped the youth,” said Nadine Taylor, our Young Women president. “It’ll make them happier the next time they see you at their door,” said Corey Stahle, the Young Men president at the time.

    Our group response was about zero.

    But our leaders persisted, and after distributing flyers, getting announcements in the ward bulletin and the ward paper, and making arrangements for water, soap, towels, vacuums, and buckets, we started making suds, and something magic happened.

    One by one, cars pulled up, the cars of the same people who had purchased our pizzas or driven us to girls’ camp or coached our ball teams. One by one, we were able to tell them, “Thanks. No charge. This one’s for you.” And we even washed a couple of cars for people who happened by and thought it was a fund-raiser, people who aren’t even members of the ward. You can imagine how they reacted when we told them the service was free.

    Oh yes, we had the usual water fights and chasing around. And granted, we didn’t wash every car in the ward. But we washed enough of them that people were talking about it for weeks. I guess we did something pretty good.

    Photography by Philip S. Shurtleff