Town Of Estes Park Celebrates National Volunteer Week April 19-25, 2009
Volunteer Service for the Town of Estes Park Grows in 2008: Milestone Reached
The value of volunteer services provided to the Town of Estes Park municipal government reached a milestone in 2008; nearly 600 volunteers donated approximately 55,622 hours to Town departments and related Town activities. These hours reflect a cost savings to taxpayers of nearly $1,126,345.50 which is a $295,766 increase in total value from 2007 and an all time high in the eleven year history of Town of Estes Park volunteer recognition events. The Independent Sector.org recently announced the national average of the dollar value of a volunteer hour for 2008 is approximately $20.25. Such an estimate can be used to help organizations quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. The 2008 estimate increased from $19.51 per hour in 2007.
For the Town of Estes Park, volunteering remains vital because it promotes citizen involvement in government. Volunteerism is the essence of real community action and requires a commitment and sense of service to fellow citizens. These attributes alone are the basis or foundation for long-term success and development of a balanced community.
For the 11th year the Town of Estes Park will formally recognize the efforts and commitment of its volunteers. Volunteer Recognition Week, April 19 through April 25, 2009 is officially designated by Mayor Bill Pinkham via proclamation. This special week offers opportunities to thank some of America’s most valuable assets -our volunteers-and to recognize the myriad of ways they improve communities.
Nationally, the theme for Volunteer Recognition Week 2009 is “Celebrating People in Action.” The sentiment captures the meaning behind this signature week – honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities. The special week presents an opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities alike to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service.
National Volunteer Recognition Week began in 1974 when Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Closer to home, local celebrations provide the opportunity to acknowledge individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference within communities.
The Town of Estes Park is celebrating local volunteers this year with a lively themed event “Town Volunteers ROCK!” The Town will honor volunteers at an April 20 recognition luncheon this year. “The event features a 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll theme dedicated to a positive and fun celebration of volunteer service” states Lori Mitchell, volunteer recognition committee chairperson. With this event, the Town recognizes and celebrates the rock solid commitment of the hundreds of volunteers.
Some aspects of local government lend themselves more readily to volunteer involvement. The Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department (7,630 hours), the Estes Park Senior Center (6,499 hours), the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Ambassadors (6,069 hours), the Estes Park Museum (5,500 hours), the Special Events Department (7,049 hours) and the Estes Park Police Auxiliary, Restorative Justice and Community Emergency Response Team (6,246 hours combined) had some of the larger total hours in 2008.
Also serving the Town of Estes Park are other dynamic organizations or boards such as the Estes Park Urban Renewal Authority, Sister Cities, the Estes Park Housing Authority, the Mayor and Trustees, the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Commission, the Library District Board, the Marketing Policy Committee, the Tree Board, the CVB Policy Advisory Committee and the Estes Park Film Commission.
The Estes Park Police Department has over 40 active volunteers working for the Department. Police Department volunteers are involved in almost every activity and service that the Department provides to the community. According to Amanda Nagl, Community Services Manager, “Our volunteers are motivated by service, camaraderie, and helping others. They enable us to do more with less and are a great benefit to the Estes Park community.”
According to Kate Rusch, Curator of Education and Public Information Officer at the Estes Park Museum, “the Museum cares for 23,000 objects of historical significance, in addition to preparing exhibits and offering some 75 programs and tours each year. Volunteers enable Museum staff to achieve the levels of quality and service for which we strive. These volunteers serve as greeters, clerks, docents, Hydroplant guides and assistants for special events, programs, collections and exhibits. They are essential in achieving our mission to serve the community.”
Volunteers play critical roles in the ongoing success of the Events Department and the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. According to Event Support Services staff Laurie Button, “the Fairgrounds simply would not be able to function without the support and efforts of our tireless volunteers.” Button highlighted the many talents, energy and skills of the volunteers for the Wool Market, the Rooftop Rodeo, Elk Fest and the Catch the Glow holiday parade. She went on to note “the teamwork of the all-volunteer Rooftop Rodeo Committee lead to great success and a job we can all be proud of”–referring to the repeated award of Best Small Outdoor Rodeo in the nation for 2003, 2006 and again in 2008.
Estes Park Senior Center volunteers and Convention and Visitors Bureau /Visitor Center Ambassadors provide outstanding customer service to the public on a daily basis. Volunteers are an integral part of the daily operation of both sites. At the Senior Center, volunteers operate the reception desk where they manage meal reservations, handle all incoming phone calls and act as ambassadors to assist new visitors to the facility. Also key to the success of the Senior Center are the members of the Board of Directors and committees of Estes Park Senior Citizens Center Inc, the support organization for the Senior Center.
Visitor Services Manager Teri Salerno notes that “the Estes Park Visitors Center is the busiest visitors’ center in the state of Colorado, with the exception of the state Welcome Center at Fruita.” Salerno also notes “the Convention and Visitors Bureau could not operate this center without the assistance of our dedicated, knowledgeable and friendly volunteer Ambassadors. The Town is grateful for everything these volunteers do.”
Estes Park can be proud of the efforts of all community groups and citizens with the volunteer efforts and programs. For more information on volunteering for the Town of Estes Park, contact any Town department or local organization for details.