Riverside Community Enjoys Apples, Fun, Food
The air was crisp and clear as more than 30 vendors began pulling their cars, trucks and trailers into the Riverside Christian School (RCS) parking lot on the morning of Oct. 13, 2019, in Washougal, Wash. For weeks, church and school volunteers had been crafting fresh apple pies and dumplings, gathering supplies, creating decorations, hoping for perfect weather, and planning all the important details for their 29th annual Apple Festival.
Just as the crowds began arriving, the sun miraculously appeared for another perfect day of autumn celebration. Every year hundreds of excited people from the area stream onto the Riverside Church grounds and school campus from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy pony rides, cake walks, face painting, a bouncy house, pie eating contests, a petting zoo and Nerf shooting range. Community members eat vegetarian burgers, fresh hot apple pie and dumplings, and Pronto Pups while strolling through local vendor booths selling artisan crafts, apples by the pound and tasty treats. Young and old alike even get a chance to blast a fire hose with the Camas Fire Department.
The Apple Festival is Riverside’s biggest fundraiser of the year and is a huge outreach opportunity for the school. This year’s funds are going toward technology improvements and programs that enrich student learning in the classroom. The proceeds will also help to develop new community service learning opportunities for students. Making community service learning a more integral part of the students’ day-to-day experience is a priority for this coming year.
RCS Connections coordinator Lindsey Coyle is enthusiastic to share about an upcoming community service program that is near and dear to her heart. “We are starting a program where our middle school students will be volunteering at local businesses," she explains. "Not only will this help teach our children the importance of Christian service in our community, but it also will give them valuable knowledge about a variety of career paths they might not have previously thought about. This all correlates with what we are doing here at RCS: focusing on community service as well as using real-world scenarios to teach our students.” Coyle participated in a program much like this one when she was in eighth grade and reflects it was the perfect opportunity to be mentored in a business setting while sharing her love for Jesus.
Tymi Wright, Riverside Christian School’s principal, says, “The RCS Apple Festival provides a perfect framework for students to be part of a tangible community outreach project from start to finish. Our students view firsthand how church and school can work together as one to create a successful event that reaches over 1,200 people every year in a positive way. Not only can they be a living testimony for Jesus, but they can apply classroom project-based learning skills to help facilitate our largest fundraiser of the year.”
Being intentional about the mission of “Together as One,” the church and the school are united in their mission to serve the families in the community. Merrill Caviness, Riverside Church pastor, says, “Together as One is all about relationships. First our relationship with Jesus is foundational: knowing Him, loving Him and serving Him. That leads to knowing, loving and serving each other. Now our church and school can work together through the Apple Festival and other community projects to build loving relationships with our community. I have always asked the question, 'If Riverside Church and school disappeared would our community notice?' I can say from talking to community members, 'Yes!'"
Riverside’s other large fundraising event is the Auction Fiesta in March. Come by to share our excitement and support another growing, thriving Oregon Conference Adventist school.
To learn more about Riverside School, visit www.riversidesch.com.