Volunteering to help others: Where there’s Will, there’s a way

GUMBORO — When it comes to helping others, Will Kenney is totally serious.

When there’s free “Will Time,” he loves to “kid” around.

The Gumboro teen recently became the proud “papa” (OK, technically not biologically) of three kids: Nigerian dwarf goats. Their names are Blondie, D.A. and Clover.

“We’re not going to breed them. We want them for showing at the fair,” said Will. “We’re going to show one of them at the fair, hopefully, and just have them as household animals. They’re cool pets.”

Will Kenney plays with Blondie, one of his three Nigerian dwarf goats.

“And let me tell you, he is a good daddy,” said Will’s mother, Sandy Kenney. “One of them spent the night in the house the first night.”

“A sleepless night,” as Will recalls.

Blondie, a tiny female, is the one whose future includes the fair. “He’s got her trained to walk on a leash and everything,” said Ms. Kenney.

Recently, Will took Blondie to the public library in Delmar in a show and tell visit for Storytime for kids.

At age 15, Will has already achieved some noteworthy accomplishments.

He is a Ben Carson Scholar, a distinction earned initially when he was in seventh grade.

In eighth grade, he was named one of Delaware’s top two volunteers.

Then in May of 2015, he shared the stage and spotlight with Hollywood icon Hillary Swank. The Academy Award-winning actress was the keynote speaker for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

One of Will Kenney’s most memorable moments was meeting Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank at the 2016 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Washington, D.C..

“The Prudential; I’ll never forgot that,” said Will.

“He said he learned a lot and met a lot of nice people, a lot of good kids,” said Ms. Kenney. “He loved that. He said he’d never forget that.”

For the past three years Will has organized and staged carnival-type events at Chick Berry Farm between Laurel and Millsboro. The events, geared to raise money and awareness, have supported the Sturge-Weber Foundation and Dysautonomia International.

His fourth carnival is Sunday, Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will feature about three dozen homemade games, including some new ones, a petting zoo, vendors, food, silent and Chinese auctions, a shooting gallery and virtual reality game, scheduled appearances of a couple very recognizable characters, emcee entertainment by DJ Whisper and stage performance by Dirt Road Outlaws band. Proceeds support Dysautonomia International.

The first carnival was staged in support of Sturge-Weber Foundation after he became aware that Stella Hastings, a little Sussex County girl, had the congenital neurological and skin disorder often associated with port-wine stains of the face, glaucoma and seizures.

Will isn’t too much in tune to video games and modern technology.

“He doesn’t like technology. He doesn’t like phones,” said Ms. Kenney. “He’s like is dad; he is always doing something.”

Will is the youngest child of Sandy and Bruce Kenney. He has two older siblings; brother Lynn and sister Chasidi.

The Kenney family’s rural home is in the Gumboro area near the border separating the Indian River and Delmar school districts. Will is an avid outdoors sportsman with passion for hunting and fishing.

This school year Will will be a sophomore at Sussex Central High School. Armed with a 4.5 grade point average, he is hoping to make induction grade in the National Honor Society.

Featuring dozens of home-made games, Will Kenney will stage the fourth Will’s Carnival for a Cause Sunday, Oct. 1 at Chick Berry Farms near Laurel. The event will support Dysautonomia International. 

In this week’s Sussex Post People to Meet spotlight: Will Kenney.

What sparked your volunteer motivation?

“It all started mostly with Stella (Hastings). Mom was reading about her on Facebook. I just kept thinking about it. It just kept going through my mind and knew I needed to do something.”

Other community service?

“I’ve been working with the Alana Rose Foundation with the Ronald McDonald House donation pickup drive. And I collect can tabs for Alana Rose Foundation, too.”

What are some of your current school activities?

“I’m in lacrosse, big! And FFA and the Fishing Club.”

Fishing Club?

“Yeah, it’s a small club they started at Central. We talk. We are trying to set up little tournaments for students and stuff like that. We usually fish fresh or salt.  It just depends. They did a Schoology Tournament where you post a picture of your fish, and the weight …”

Will Kenney picks a leafy treat for one of his three Nigerian dwarf goats.

Have you thought about college?

“Penn State is one of the options. Salisbury, I’ve thought about. Those are the two main ones. I’ve thought about Clemson. The University of Delaware is another one.”

What might be your major?

“Architecture or civil engineering.”

What’s your interest in that?

“Being around with my father, with him being in construction and him building things like hospitals and bridges, I was fascinated by it. But I would rather be the one designing the big structures than building it, personally … and work in air-conditioning.”

How about “Will Time”?

“If it’s not during any season of hunting or fishing, those are the two main ones, then I like to work with my goats. And me and my dad, I like to work with him on our Jeep – a 1997 Sahara.”

“I’d like an old Ford or Chevy coupe and put some whitewall tires on it. That’s a dream.”

You find a genie bottle. You get one wish. What is it?

“I want a farm. My dream is 50 acres somewhere with goats, cows, horses, all of the animals and a food plot for deer, and a pond, and then houses for everyone in my family.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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