Originally from Lytton, Joan Meyer first moved to Fort Dodge back in 1982 after graduating college, and it didn’t take long for her to become an active member in the community of Fort Dodge.
Now she works at Cornwell, Frideres, Maher & Associates PLC as an accountant. She also teaches a cyclist class at the Rec Center downtown once a week and works at Grace Lutheran Church as the ARiSE (Always Rejoicing In the Savior’s Embrace) teen/youth coordinator.
“I want to provide a good, positive image for the youth in Fort Dodge and that is what really led me to the church office four years ago,” Meyer said.
The ARiSE group does different types of projects — including cleaning up around town, any volunteer work needed and holding fundraisers throughout the year leading up to the annual mission trip.
“I believe in trying to keep the youths’ hearts and minds on God and to support and encourage them to live through their faith,” she said.
Meyer said that seeing the kids with smiles on their faces, watching them spread their faith, and all the random acts of kindness is what inspires her to stay with the youth group.
ARiSE will be traveling to South Dakota this summer to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
“This year I am very honored by the reservation because they are going to allow one member a chance to help build a sundance hut, which is a very sacred practice to them.”
Even though Meyer has three jobs, she still finds time to volunteer as the secretary for Hawkeye Community Theatre.
“I have had a love for theater ever since I was a little girl and I remember doing my first show when I was in third grade. It has become a passion of mine, and theater helps make life more fun. It allows me to feel, and it is a way to bring a story to life, while also connecting to your audience, “ she said.
Meyer started at Hawkeye back in 1991.
“Fort Dodge has such an great community of arts, I wanted to be apart of it to show my appreciation.”
She even tries to appear in one show ayear so she doesn’t lose her acting roots.
One of Meyer’s proudest accomplishments while being on the board of Hawkeye happened back in 2000 when they were looking for a permanent spot to keep the theater and hold the shows. They bought the current building and having their own location allows them to make their own decisions and have more freedom in the Hawkeye Community.
“Hawkeye is a very welcoming organization. Everyone who volunteers and donates their time and talents is what has help Hawkeye stay alive and active for over 50 years,” she said.
Not only does Meyer volunteer at Hawkeye, she is also the “founding mother” of the Dodger Cyclists, a group of bicyclists in town. The group’s goal is also to promote bicycle safety. Sometimes the group will go around town to hand out red and white lights for the front and back of bikes to help improve visibility and help keep the kids safer.
“The Dodger Cyclists Club has really started to focus on all the trails in Fort Dodge and how to utilize them. We also want to attract the youths in Fort Dodge in the area to the club so we get some new faces. It is a great way to exercise with a great group of people,” Meyer said.
Riding bikes is not the only physical activity the club does — in the summer they also go kayaking or hiking at Badger Lake, and in the winter they go cross-country skiing at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.
“Staying busy and active within the community is something I love to do, and my friends know that about me and are always asking me to help with various things,” she said.
Meyer talks about how active Fort Dodge is and how there is always something to do here.
“It baffles me when people say there is nothing to do in Fort Dodge,” Meyer said. “It is actually the opposite — there is almost always something to do on the weekends and summer weeknights in Fort Dodge.”