When Mary Vogelsang’s father died unexpectedly when she was 16, the community stepped in to help.
A local Boy Scout troop helped choose flowers for the funeral. Neighbors taught her how to drive.
With a mom who was a PTA president and a dad involved in Boy Scouts and youth baseball, Vogelsang learned from an early age the importance of being involved in the community.
“It tells you what’s going on and makes you feel connected,” said Vogelsang, a retired nurse who lives on Light Street Avenue in Pasadena, a stone’s throw from Severna Park.
For about 10 years, Vogelsang has been active with Vacation Bible School at Pasadena United Methodist Church (PUMC). This year’s VBS, with the theme “To Mars and Beyond,” ran from August 5-9.
“We were going to Mars and we had to get energy because our spaceship was stuck in space and we had to get it home,” Vogelsang said. “We had to collect hope, boldness, faith, kindness and joy.”
Vogelsang has been a member of PUMC for 54 years, where she is a faith community nurse, and no activity during that time has brought her more joy than working with kids.
“Kids are our future,” she said. “If we don’t take care of the kids, we have no future.”
When teaching Sunday school to children ages 3 to 6, it’s not hard for her to see the possibilities of the future, even though it can be challenging to keep the kids’ attention.
“Kids see things in a different way, and all of the generations are different,” Vogelsang said. “You always learn new things because kids look at things a different way. They keep you on your toes.
“That’s why I like National Night Out: the kids are so excited to see the police,” she added. “It’s free for kids. Any age category can come.”
During the most recent National Night Out on August 6, Vogelsang waved people from the parking lot toward the activities. She was also involved in planning the event. For the night of August 6, she recruited Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and kids from Pasadena United Methodist Church.
“I want to get the kids involved in the community and know they count. It’s more than a badge,” she said. “Our church is between the fire and police stations, and they need to know it’s a safe haven. It’s a good place to be.”
While she is proud to live in Pasadena, Vogelsang is also attends Greater Severna Park Council meetings and tries to stay informed on matters affecting both zip codes. When overdevelopment occurs, her first thought is often about the kids. Why doesn’t the proposed complex have a playground? Will the kids be safe if their bus stop is located on Ritchie Highway?
As a member of the community, she feels compelled to look out for others the way her former neighbors took care of her. “Everyone needs to work together,” Vogelsang said.