Picnic a sign of things to come
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 06:00 am
An open letter to the community of St Albert:
What a beautiful day for a picnic. We estimated approximately 2,000 people attended last Sundayís River Valley Picnic between noon and 4 p.m., based on a count of children who participated in the carnival, the flow of traffic through the Lions Park and attendance at Grain Elevator Park, which tallied at approximately 300.
As the chair of the Spirit of St. Albert Society, which organized the picnic, I am first and foremost overwhelmed with pride and gratitude for the 78 volunteers who stepped up to help present this event to the public. These volunteers range in age from seven to 70.
The youth in St. Albert who came out to volunteer showed us that our youth care about what is happening in our community and want to be a part of events that enhance who we are as a community. I could not be prouder of the team that put this event on. When I walked along the trail and stopped to talk to people, they had nothing but great things to say. The smiles on the faces of the children and their families tell us they want to see this event return.
We advertised in the local newspapers, handed out flyers to people at the St. Albert Farmersí Market. Many of the people in attendance found us because they were on the trail. We are currently exploring other ways to reach more people, in particular, through social media.
For the Spirit of St. Albert (SOSA), this event is new. We will come back in 2013 with an enriched approach, continuing what went well and improving as needed. We will host the annual picnic on the last Sunday in August, which will be our day.
Thank you to our generous community sponsors, without whom future events would not be possible. The total cost for the day, including advertising, materials, entertainment and operational set up was approximately $28,000. This money was provided in part to the non-profit society, SOSA, as part of a legacy grant from the 150th Anniversary Committee.
We are very proud that the committee and the city recognized our vision for the future in community-based accessible programming. Funds provided through the grant also helped the society participate and promote not only the picnic but other past and future activities. Funds are in place to help build on 2013 programming. It is a conscious effort by volunteers to build and deliver a list of regularly featured events in the community.
It is worth noting that to date, SOSA has logged more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time organizing events and helping in the community. Past activities have included the food bankís drive for baby food, which delivered more than $3,000 worth of baby food to the local community; working with the Rockín August organization to deliver the annual Fatherís Day Soapbox Derby; and working with the City of St Albert and other community organizations to deliver a great Family Day program at Lacombe Park and other locations.
New programs will come as our organization matures. As SOSA grows, we will provide new and varied programs that enhance St. Albertís sense of community.
Cheryl MacKenzie, chair of Spirit of St. Albert Society