25th Make Orangeville Shine this Saturday

April 22, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Taking pride in one’s community is something that local service clubs have always had a knack for. From providing support to local organizations, to hosting community events and helping keep the community clean, they continue to be pillars that reflect the heart of what it means to be part of a small town.

The Rotary Club of Orangeville has done just that over the years, focusing on ways to impact the community and leaving positive footprints as they go. Some of those footprints, like Saturday’s annual ‘Make Orangeville Shine,’ have grown into full-blown trails, bringing together more than just their own members, but businesses, community groups and residents as well.

Make Orangeville Shine was started 25 years ago by members of the Rotary Club to help clean up Rotary Park and the eastern entrance to Orangeville as a gesture for Earth Day.

“When we originally started, it was just our members, their wives, their kids and their grand-kids,” explained the club’s Fred Hill. “We waded through water to clean up the garbage, but we all worked together. Quite a few of the members who started this with us are still part of the club today.”

Mr. Hill presented the idea of the group cleanup to the Rotary Club shortly after joining. He had brought with him a background in scouting, where they regularly organized garbage pick-ups as part of their community service.

“When I got together with the club, the idea just seemed like a natural extension of the services they provided,” he explained. “I mentioned the idea to them and we just went from there.”

The first year, there were about 40 volunteers through the club, and members wives cooked hot dogs for those who came out to clean up. Now, the event draws out anywhere between 150 and 200 volunteers to help clean up, including church groups, girl guides, scouts, and even members of local businesses.

“It’s really developed a large sense of community spirit from Make Orangeville Shine,” said Mr. Hill. “The biggest thing I like to see is the parents who say thank you after we’re all done for the day. A lot of them have told me that it gives them the opportunity to spend quality time with their kids while helping the environment. It’s an all around positive experience.”

Although the clean-up welcomes anyone they like to have people register in advance so they know how much food to take. Now the food is donated by local businesses who have backed the Rotary Club’s effort each year.

The event is planned as closely to Earth Day as possible, and over the years clean-up crews have battled mud, rain, slush and snow to help clean the park.

“It’s always encouraging to see how many people still come out and want to do something, even though the weather doesn’t always cooperate,” said Mr. Hill. “It really shows just how much the local environment means to members of the community.”

In more recent years, the Rotary Club has developed partnerships with TD Friends of the Environment, the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), and the Orangeville Sustainable Action Team (OSAT), which has led to the inclusion of tree planting as part of the Earth Day activities as well.

“Make Orangeville Shine is a great opportunity not only to get out and do something for your community, but also to have some fun,” said Mr. Hill. “We have groups, teams and individuals all participate.”

He added that Make Orangeville Shine is also an option for high school students looking to earn more community service ours.

Make Orangeville Shine and Orangevillle’s Earth Day Tree Planting will be held this Saturday, April 25th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration will be held at Rotary Park, starting at 9 a.m. followed by a BBQ at the park at 12 noon. Along with Rotary Park, clean-up will be held at several locations, and tree planting will be held at the Best Western. A shuttle will be provided to and from the Best Western and Rotary Park.

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