Opinion

Volunteers make Kitsap a better place

I am very excited to announce the successful completion of the Central Kitsap Youth Volunteer Corps’ first project, the “Fairgrounds Paint & Plant,” which engaged participants in various projects at the Fairgrounds, most notably the planting of a rain garden that will help to reduce flooding from runoff and improve water quality in surrounding areas. The event exemplified community involvement at its best, with individual high schoolers taking up shovels alongside members of Americorps and Kitsap Youth in Action, all to help our county become an even greater place.

Promoting volunteerism, while at the same time fostering a sense of involvement and investment in the county’s youth, is the precise goal of the newly created Central Kitsap Youth Volunteer Corps. A volunteer intern who is serving as Central Kitsap’s Youth Volunteer Coordinator organized the group several weeks ago, with the hope of creating opportunities for youth to volunteer throughout the summer. The group’s Facebook page already has over 100 members, and that number is still growing. In addition, other youth organizations such as the Girl Scouts have expressed an interest in participating in the group’s projects in the future.

Projects will be planned every several weeks, providing ample opportunity for every person to be able to participate who wishes to do so. Eventually, youth will be able to take direct ownership of the group by choosing the improvement projects that they have identified as important enough to complete. It is my hope that in the future the group will serve as an outlet for youth to identify problems they see in their communities and discover the tools they need to fix them.

Over the past several weeks, we have held meetings with members of the group, directors of the Haselwood YMCA’s youth program, as well as youth organizations already existent within the county in order to organize the Volunteer Corps’ first event. We knew the community would help out as it always has before, but none of us could have predicted the huge outpouring of support that was so obvious that day at the Fairgrounds. Not only did about two dozen people donate their time to complete the project, but businesses and other individuals in the community also helped out in any way they could. Tony’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Bremerton generously donated pizza for all of our volunteers, Lowes and Home Depot both provided plants and CK Community Council President Bob Moyer and his wife Fran Moyer donated some of the supplies needed for planting.

When I stopped by the event to meet our volunteers and hand out certificates of appreciation, it was obvious that some great work had been done, and that the participants had enjoyed their time doing it. Youth who wish to get involved in future projects can contact the Central Kitsap Youth Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Fedorko, at lfedorko@co.kitsap.wa.us, or by phone at (360) 710-9816.

 

Josh Brown is a Kitsap County commissioner representing Central Kitsap.

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