When people arrive at the top of Yarnell Hill (a scenic experience not to be missed) they find a small town of houses climbing a mountain on one side of Highway 89 and huge and unique piles of ancient rocks on the other.
Along the highway are antique stores, gift shops, a grocery , restaurants, a post office and a hardware store. However, if they look more closely, they will also note that there are churches, an American Legion post, a community center, a library, a fire department and a community garden.
With no city council, mayor or other governmental agencies, how are all these enterprises maintained? As any citizen of a small town knows, by volunteers. Yarnell exists by the efforts of committed and skilled volunteers. They work at the Community Center delivering food to shut-ins (Meals-on-Wheels) and running the thrift shop; at the library behind the circulation desk, maintaining the book collection, the building, and in the used book “Book Barn”; at the American Legion helping with food service and with many other activities which serve our veterans and the community; and at a myriad of other church groups, Fire Departments, and the Community Garden and its Farmers’ Market, to name a few.
In addition, when a need is perceived, a group of people volunteer, plans are made and carried out to meet the need. For example, recycling and home care. This is not viewed as a sacrifice but a privilege, a chance to serve and/or meet a need or challenge that is very satisfying and stimulating at the same time. As meetings take place, frequently accompanied by a pot luck meal, volunteers find themselves meeting new friends, getting to know old ones better, learning new skills and often finding strengths within themselves they didn’t know they had.
This quick review doesn’t take into account the many other “behind the scenes” activities such as: book clubs, painting and music groups, tai chi and yoga classes, photography, ballroom dance, drumming circles, game night… the list goes on and on. Who says there’s nothing to do in a small town?! Not the citizens of Yarnell and Peeples Valley!