Guest blogger: Matt Fieser, Veteran Fellow Intern – King County Parks Volunteer Program
When I tell people that I work for King County Parks, the first question they always ask is, “do you work with Chris Pratt?” Hilarious. No, I don’t know or work with Chris Pratt, but my time working with the King County Parks Volunteer Program has given me the opportunity to meet some of the 10,400 volunteers that have donated their time and energy to our parks over the last year. The same volunteers gave more than 70,400 hours while working at 510 separate events throughout the King County Parks system in 2015. So once a year, King County Parks hosts a dinner to show all of our volunteers just how much they are appreciated.
Earlier this month, King County Parks staff and more than 100 volunteers and representatives from various organizations throughout the county gathered at Renton Technical College to appreciate, and be appreciated. Volunteers from groups like the Maple Valley Rotary Club and the Eastside Audobon Society were some of the first to arrive, and the mingling began. As members of other groups like United Way of King County and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound steadily filtered in, it was time to eat. Chicken or fish were the choices for main dish, both were excellent and I know this because I tried both (don’t tell!).
Parks Director, Kevin Brown led the program, expressing how grateful he and the rest of the King County Parks staff were for all of the contributions every volunteer has made over the last year, and continue to make. Brown also stressed how volunteers and their time are the most valuable natural resource we have, right before explaining the plan for the future of our parks. After the Director’s remarks, each organization was acknowledged with a certificate of appreciation presented by a different King County Parks staff member along with a short summary of all the great work and time they had provided.
With the evening winding down, the beautiful pumpkin center pieces that the King County Parks Greenhouse Program created for the event were given out to some lucky recipients.
The event was a smash hit, but how could it not be with a room full of people who are willing to trade their precious time, all so that we can enjoy our time at our parks.
See more pictures from the event on our Parks Flickr page.