Woodstock’s Volunteer’s Day is coming on August 15, that day many used to celebrate for a big festival that stole our town’s name and happened somewhere else. For the first time since its initiation eleven years ago, the whole thing is being shepherded into organization — without drawing on the volunteerism of those being honored — by someone other than event founder Sam Magarelli.
How’s it been going under the leadership of a new board of directors and new event coordinator Tamara Cooper, best known in her role as program director at Family of Woodstock?
“I think we’re running well. It’s a bit of a transition from the old to the new, but there’s a lot of holdovers on the board,” Cooper said this week of the annual picnic with music, kids activities and the naming of a Woodstock Volunteer of the Year. After which comes what Cooper calls her fave part of the big day: the town’s fireworks display as darkness falls. “We started off meeting once a month then moved to weekly meetings. Now it’s even more often as we come into the final stretch.”
Cooper said that a full music line-up is in place for August 15, along with all the restaurants donating food. Only specifics, including pick-up times and exact schedules, are still in process.
“The hard part, as always, has been finding volunteers for the volunteers,” Cooper added. “We’ve got a group coming from Omega who do housekeeping and some people from Ulster courts and the youth center, plus another teen group. But we could always use more hands.
Work and honor
The event starts midday on August 15, with music from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. followed by awards…and then fireworks. But an exact schedule will be announced by next week’s issue.
“The big challenge I found was finding people who didn’t already volunteer in this town of volunteers,” Cooper continued. “But also all that was entailed in taking a real grass roots effort, where much of the information was oral, and getting it all down on paper for the first time.”
The new director added how key it was to have Magarelli, a former teacher, school board member, county legislator and current town councilperson’s spouse, on hand to help out wherever needed.
“The overload of work and sense of honor have balanced each other, for certain,” Cooper summarized. “In the end, though, I must say it’s really been an honor to be part of a community that values volunteerism so highly.”
For anyone seeking more info on volunteers day between now and August 15, including offers to volunteer, call 679-2485 or visit www.volunteersday.org