Volunteering for the Community

By Kayla Fleming

“The reason I volunteer is because I can,” says Rita Watson. Watson is a volunteer with Vision 2020, Inc., the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association, and much more. However, Watson begins her list of places she volunteers with her church, the Red Boiling Springs Church of Christ. “I teach upper elementary students Bible classes and I co-teach, with my sister, a ladies Bible class. On occasion I speak at Ladies events,” she explains.

Next on her list is the Red Boiling Springs based Vision 2020. Watson spent six years as the secretary for Vision 2020 and currently serves as Executive Director. “It is my job to provide continuity as our board make-up changes from time to time. I also keep abreast of the laws and rules for non-profits to make sure we stay within state and federal guidelines.”

In addition to Executive Director, Watson is also on several committees within the organization, including the Folk Medicine Festival committee, the Heritage Museum committee, the Finance committee, and the Publicity committee. “My special love is found in two of Vision 2020’s goals and that is to preserve our historic relics and to encourage an appreciation for our history as a community,” she says.

Watson is also currently the Chairman of the Board for the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association.. Previously, she has served as vice chairman and secretary. “UCTA promotes a 14 county area as a destination for travelers,” she explains. “Tourism money is vitally important to rural areas such as ours. I specifically work to promote RBS, as well as Macon County, as a destination partnering with the county, the cities and Vision 2020.”

In addition to her volunteer work, Watson is also an artist and a member of both the Macon County Arts Council and the Allen County (KY) League of Artists and Craftsman. She says that she feels art is “vitally important to every community and especially rural communities such as ours.” Recently, Watson began teaching doodling classes at the Step Back in Time Gift Shop in Red Boiling Springs. “I am a lifelong doodler and like to share the experience and why doodling is not just a mindless waste of time. Some of the great inventions of all time came about from doodling.”

Though Watson says she doesn’t get much “downtime” between volunteering and doing the books for her husband’s business and the museum and gift shop Grandpa’s House, when she does have some time to spare she enjoys babysitting some of her eleven grandchildren and reading. “I read biographies, histories, religious works, fiction, poetry, and especially the Bible.”

It’s a Bible verse that she cites when asked about why she volunteers. “I have been blessed with a variety of abilities. It is with gratitude that I use those abilities to the good of my community. ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’ 1 Peter 4:10,’” she continues. “I believe there are some things too important to the life of our community to let die, our history, our traditions, our crafts, our small town. And, very importantly, I love the people.”


By Kayla Fleming

Reach Kayla Fleming at 615-666-2440.

Reach Kayla Fleming at 615-666-2440.

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