This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Wilson Carroll.
Carroll is a lawyer in private practice who sits in the sacristy of the Church of the Holy Trinity and is also president of the Fostoria Neighborhood Association. He also volunteers with the Cannonballs through the YMCA Purks-Golding.
He is married to Lee Darden Carroll, has three children and a stepson. He grew up in Greenwood, Mississippi, and lived in Jackson for 30 years before moving to Vicksburg four years ago.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I spent almost a dozen years as a Boy Scout Leader in Jackson and started the Fondren Neighborhood Association in the early 90s. During this time the YMCA operated the Briarwood Pool, which was a small facility. neighborhood near Fondren. Due to financial constraints, the Y decided to close the pool and I spearheaded the effort to keep it open. Over 70 families joined in the first year and sponsored a beginner swim team called the Briarwood Dolphins. We had over 100 kids and they competed against other local clubs in the Jackson Swim Association. The kids learned to swim and, above all, everyone had a blast!
After moving to Vicksburg I realized we had to do something similar here. There are so many kids out there who want to swim in the summer without committing to a year round program, and the YMCA has two really great pools, one indoor (Purks) and one outdoor (Wilkinson-Ver Beck). In addition, I had volunteered to coach the St. Al swim team and needed a development program for young swimmers. I approached Phillip Dworin with my idea and he was immediately excited about the idea. This is how the cannonballs started!
What is your favorite memory while volunteering?
Every time you work with children, you end up with great memories. Swimming can be a scary sport at first, but with patience anyone can learn to do it. There is nothing better than watching a novice child swim along the side of the pool for the first time using good technique without hanging onto the ropes or touching the bottom. It’s a small victory, but for them it means the world!
What are your activities and what do they consist of?
I love being a dad and step dad, and I’m so lucky to have found Lee Darden while we were both volunteering at Boy Scout Camp (she was there with her son Logan and I was there with Spencer). Also thanks to Lee, I got involved with Holy Trinity and Fostoria. All of this plus practicing law is a busy life!
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?
Do not be shy ! We all have unique gifts and talents that the world needs. Plus, I like the idea of “pay it forward”. I can swim today because when I was a kid a group of adults in Greenwood devoted a ton of time and energy volunteering to run a summer program. Most of them couldn’t swim, but they were good organizers and got us coaches. Now that I am an elder, I can truly appreciate the sacrifices they made for us children back then, and I almost feel obligated to continue the tradition.
What did you learn from volunteering with this organization?
The Vicksburg Y is just a fantastic organization, and we’re so lucky to have someone like Philip Doiron at the helm. He is friendly, funny and energetic. He never said no to a crazy idea that I launched. Cannonballs wouldn’t exist without him.