Friday, September 28, 2007

Kicking off the VolunTour

Well, we're out here in San Fran to kick off our "VolunTour Across America," and let me tell you, the city is gorgeous!

Tomorrow morning is our first event, which is also National Public Lands Day. We'll be at Baker Beach from 9 a.m. to Noon, for a Take Pride in America cleanup event.

We're excited to get out there and meet all of our partners and friends from the Bay area. If you're in the San Francisco area tomorrow, stop on by and join us.

The address is:
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Baker Beach. Lincoln Blvd. and Bowley St. San Francisco, CA 94129

Stay tuned for more updates from the road...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hunting Island State Park (SC), Beach Sweep 2007

This past weekend, over 200 anxious volunteers gathered on a hot and humid Saturday morning to clean the beaches of Hunting Island State Park.

It was remarkable how organized this event was, and that is in large part due to the efforts of Karen Whitehead. Karen is a member off the Friends board and serves as the litter control program coordinator. She runs a tight ship, and her hard work paid off in the end with a very successful event.

My trip was complete when I had the opportunity to watch Karen and Vivian Wayne, the Friends turtle program coordinator, inventory a Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. Three little turtles were hatched and slowly made their way to the ocean. It was quite a sight and I was amazed at the dedication of these volunteers who visit the park twice a day during turtle season to watch over these little guys.

I would like to especially thank Bonnie Wright, for her hospitality and contagious enthusiasm for this amazing state park. Also, thank you to the board of the Friends group and park manager Jeff Atkins for making my trip so memorable.

The event was sponsored by the Friends of Hunting Island State Park, the 2007 Take Pride in America National Award winner in the non-profit category, and included support from many local organizations. Volunteers from the Rotary Club of the Low Country, the NJROTC from Wade Hampton High School, Beaufort High School, Beaufort Middle School, Interact Groups, Dataw Garden Club, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownie Troops, Girl Scouts and Kayak Farm all pitched in to beautify South Carolina’s most visited state park.


Ft. Pulaski Volunteer Recognition

The volunteers at Ft. Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, GA are a hard working, dedicated crew. Collecting entrance fees, maintaining the grounds, and providing visitors with detailed accounts of life on the fort during the Civil War....they do it all.

I had the pleasure of meeting with the park Superintendent, Charles Fenwick, and the park volunteer coordinator, Ron Grissom, along with some of these devoted volunteers last Thursday. We gathered to honor one volunteer in particular, Rich Puljung, who has achieved the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award for contributing 500 hours of service. Rich, along with the other volunteers, shared their thoughts on volunteering, and I was impressed by their commitment and desire to help in the preservation of this national treasure.

Many thanks to the volunteers and staff for making my visit to Ft. Pulaski memorable and enjoyable! I especially enjoyed the Musket and Soldier Demonstration by volunteer Bob Hatfield.


Monday, September 17, 2007

International Coastal Cleanup Day---Lakeshore Cleanup in Kentucky

What better way to spend a Saturday than to volunteer outdoors?!

This past weekend I was honored to join the 20th Annual Trashmasters Classic Lakeshore Cleanup at Barren River Lake in Glasgow, Kentucky. It's a small town with a big heart - over 600 people came out to help cleanup the lake.

Sponsored by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Barren River Lake State Resort Park, this cleanup was an inspiring example of how several groups can come together to make a BIG difference. Boy Scouts, local businesses, young and old worked side by side to collect tons of trash and make their community cleaner and stronger.

A very special thanks to Kevin Salvilla from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Monica Conrad, Barren River Lake State Resort Park Manager.

I wasn't the only one that noticed the hard work everyone did on Saturday, check out the stories in the local press.

Trashmasters Classic Keeps Lake Clean---WBKO-TV

Hundreds head to lake for Trashmaster's Classic---Bowling Green Daily News

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties (the camera broke), we won't have pictures of the event for a few days. However, stay tuned, we will be sure to add them to the blog as soon as we can.

That's it for now....


On the road in Nashville, Tennessee

I recently got the chance to visit J. Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tennessee. This beautiful lake and surrounding land is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Just 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, Priest Lake welcomes over 6 million visitors each year. I was surprised to learn that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages over 4,000 recreation areas and over 100,000 camping sites across the country!!

Thanks to their effective Volunteer Clearinghouse, the Corps has a dedicated group of volunteers to help maintain these national treasures. A special note of thanks to Volunteer Clearinghouse Director Carolyn Bauer and Resource ManagerTodd Yann for taking the time to show me around.


Great Smoky Mountains Award Ceremony

Hi everyone,

What a week it's been! I had the awesome opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee last Thursday. What a beautiful park - and what committed volunteers!

It was an honor to present Take Pride Hours of Service Awards to 6 very special people who have each served over 3,000 hours at the Great Smokies.
A very special thanks to VIP Coordinator Babette Collavo and Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson for their hospitality and their work to recognize the park's dedicated volunteers.
If you'd like to hear more about the event, you can find our press release here.
Also, the Mountain Press and Knoxville News Sentinel had a couple of good stories on the afternoon's events, check 'em out.
5 Tennesseans Get Park Service Awards---The Knoxville News Sentinel

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hitting the road with Toyota

Hey guys,

We've got big things happening here at Take Pride. September marks the kickoff for our VolunTour across America. As part of Take Pride’s ongoing partnership with Toyota, we will be touring the country in a Take Pride in America Toyota Prius to promote volunteerism.

Beginning on September 29th we will be in California, starting in San Francisco, to tour the west coast. Our first tour will include stops in: San Fransisco, Crescent City, Roseburg (OR), and Mt Ranier (WA).

Let us know if you’re in the area and would like to get involved in the tour! You can reach us at or just respond here on the blog.

New Blog Kickoff

Well, this is it, Take Pride in America is venturing out into new territory...the world of blogs!

Here in the Take Pride office, it's important for us to keep in touch with you guys, as there are literally thousands of volunteers, Take Pride Schools, and partners across the country.

In order to better do that, we thought we'd this blog a try. We'd love to build an ongoing dialogue with you as you promote Take Pride's spirit of volunteerism across the country.

Feel free to leave comments on the blog, as well as let us know what kind of things (Events, stories, pics, etc) you'd like to see more of. Also, if you have any tips or words of advice for other Take Pride volunteers and schools, leave them as comments on the blog or email us with them.