By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon teen was honored recently after he accepted and complete a lawn mowing challenge.
Ronin Kinet, a junior at Yukon High School, has spent the past four years mowing yards for free.
His effort was part of “The 50 Yard Challenge,” a Madison, Ala.-based program that raises men and women to be leaders in their communities through service to others.
Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, challenges boys and girls ages 8-17 to mow free lawns from the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans, and anyone else in need of help. The effort began in 2016.
Ronin undertook his 50 Yard Challenge back in 2020 when he was 13 years old. After many dozens of hours of hard work, he achieved his goal this August by completing the 50th yard.
“I feel like it’s changed me a lot,” said Ronin, the 17-year-old-son of Yukon’s Cassie and Ruben Kinet.
As with other participants, Ronin was responsible for identifying and selecting the lawns he mowed in the Yukon area.
His mother explained why he got involved with the 50 Yard Challenge.
“Ronin was struggling with his self-confidence, and we wanted to find something to help encourage him to have self-confidence,” Cassie Kinet said.
Mowing lawns has been great exercise for Ronin, who’s lost about 120 pounds and joined the YHS wrestling team.
“It’s been life-changing for him,” his mother added.
“We are extremely proud of him. For a long time, we didn’t know if Ronin was going to be OK because he did struggle with self confidence so much. This has completely changed his life.
“He’s doing amazing now.”
The Yukon student is among nearly 5,000 kids across the country who have participate in this unique community service project. In all, more than 20,000 lawns have been mowed for free.
PRESENTING THE GIFTS
Ronin earned a new lawn mower, weed eater and leaf blower as a prize for completing the 50 Yard Challenge.
“They win the tools so they can start their own business,” Cassie Kinet explained. “Ronin wants to try to get an internship with a business next summer; he still wants to mow yards for free. He still has a list of people whose yards he’s cleaning up for the next year.”
Founder Rodney Smith Jr. on Oct. 25 came to Yukon’s Canadian Hills Church of the Nazerene to honor Ronin and present him with his gifts.
As a thank-you, Ronin gave Smith some Oklahoma peach tea.
“He wanted Rodney to have a taste of what we drink out here,” Ronin’s mother noted.
Ronin’s favorite classes in school are science, English and coding. He likes to volunteer at church.
Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service is the “union of an ordinary yard maintenance service and the commitment to establish an inspiring program” to keep youth on a positive path “while learning and understanding their value in society,” according to the organization’s web site.
Ronin offered advice to other kids thinking about taking on the 50 Yard Challenge.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Just keep on striving forward to completion.”
Anyone interested in supporting or participating in Raising Men & Women’s 50-Yard Challenge should visit https://weareraisingmen.com/the-50-yard-challenge/ or call (256) 508-9440.