Wapak youth volunteers summer at local library

A local student has had a busy summer with a number of activities and volunteering duties, but he also is looking forward to the start of school so he can see his friends more often.

Thirteen-year-old Ryan Schneider, who will be in eighth-grade at Wapakoneta High School this fall, has spent the summer swimming and volunteering at the Auglaize County Public District Library in Wapakoneta.

“I just like helping out the community,” Schneider said at the library, while volunteering his time to help with a youth program. “I like to help the little kids.”

Schneider often helps assist craft and game activities when the library hosts special youth programs and story times.

In addition to being a top volunteer at the library, Schneider also helped out at the pizza and pop stand at the St. Joe Fourth of July Festival this year. He has volunteered at the festival for a few years, and in previous years helped man the Kid’s Tent.

Schneider also was a mentor for the swim team this summer.

The Wapak Waves swimmer said he would help assist the younger swimmers in the club by teaching them the basics of the sport.

“They look to the advanced swimmers to help the younger swimmers,” Schneider said. “I help them with their breathing and teach them the strokes.”

Schneider had a successful summer by placing first place three times at the championship meet in Bluffton.

During the winter months, he prepares for the sport by being on a winter league swim team. He plans to participate on the Wapakoneta Redskins High School swim team when he is a freshman.

“I like it because you swim individual events,” Schneider said. “You rely on yourself for success.”

Schneider said he sets individual goals for himself to achieve during the season, along with pushing himself and his teammates to reach their goals.

“We (swim teammates) push each other in our age group to reach goals,” Schneider said. “That’s how I got where I am because they pushed me.”

His team is a support system when it comes to helping each other to strive to do their best.

Other than swimming, soccer is a favorite for the Wapakoneta High School eighth-grader.

“I play on a select team, and I plan to try out next year for soccer,” Schneider said.

Schneider, who plays left wing for his team, said soccer is hard because you cannot use your hands to touch the ball.    

“It’s very challenging, and I like challenging things,” Schneider said.

But if he is asked to decide between the two sports which he enjoys more, Schneider said he cannot decide a clear-cut decision.

Going to Niagara Falls and Holmes County were two vacation trips that Schneider took this summer before starting back with school.

“Niagara Falls was pretty fun,” Schneider said, “and Holmes County was pretty fun because every Saturday we get to go kayaking. This year I got my own kayak.”

But with school a few weeks away, Schneider is looking forward to beginning his high school career and seeing his friends more often.

Schneider’s favorite subjects are math and science.

“I like all the experiences in science,” Schneider said. “And I always had nice teachers in math. I took algebra last year and I found algebra and all the activities fun.”

One day, Schneider said he wants to become an orthodontist.

“They have good pay and they help people fix a problem,” Schneider said, “and I have braces right now.”