What is Beautify Bonney Lake?
Working on more than 25 projects, some 700+ volunteers do clean up, landscaping and other work needed to improve the city. Volunteers from the Open Life Bonney Lake church family work to clean up and clear the trail site that helps students walk safely to Bonney Lake High School from the Brookside neighborhood. In 2015, Beautiful Bonney Lake is on Saturday, September 19. Community members that would like to participate but can’t be there on the 19th can also make a contribution on the city’s website.
We sat down with Sam Brown, a high school senior who attends nearby Auburn Riverside High School and is a long time volunteer on the Open Life Bonney Lake church AV sound crew and set up team to talk about his experience last year as part of the Open Life volunteer team helping with Beautify Bonney Lake.
Q. Sam, you helped out with Beautify Bonney Lake last year, right? How would you describe the experience?
A. It’s definitely real work, but it’s engaging. Having a lot of people come out is great because there is plenty of work to go around – there is definitely enough work for everyone.
Q. You’re volunteering again this year, what did you learn last time that will make this year a better experience?
Last year I didn’t find out what the project was going to be ahead of time, I wasn’t sure where I’d be working or what the project would be. Now I know what I’ll be working on specifically, so I know better what tools are going to be useful. Last year I brought some tools but there were other tools I would have brought along if I’d known what project I was working on.
Q. Do people need to bring their own tools? What type of tools should people bring if they have them?
No, for the most part people don’t need to bring their own tools. A lot of tools that are going to be essential to the task are provided and so are gloves. But having extra power tools and machines on hand will also make the whole job go faster and easier. So people don’t have to bring tools with them, but they can if they think it might help.
It didn’t feel like we had enough time to do all we wanted, but it would have been plenty of time if we had more tools like weed whackers, power saws and pruners – this time I will be bringing more of those types of tools along for the team to use. But really, like any other project like this, it really comes down to having lots of people to help. The more people you have on the job, the faster it gets done and the more the work can be shared.
Q. What project did you work on last year?
A. Open Life Bonney Lake church volunteers work on the trail that goes behind the houses in the neighborhood near Bonney Lake High School. It’s kind of cool to know that high school kids just like me that have to walk to school use this trail every day. There were about a dozen people on our team and we worked on the trail clean up for a few hours.
Q. How was it working as a group?
A. There was a lot of independent work involved but it was also really important to be able to stop and pitch in somewhere else if someone on the team needed help, and to help figure out how to put some of the younger volunteers to work on projects they could handle.
Q. What advice would you give other people?
A. If you can, find out what project you’ll be working on and make sure to dress for the weather. Be sure to bring some drinking water and maybe a couple of power snacks, like granola bars.
Q. Is Beautify Bonney Lake a good project for high school students in terms of service hours they might need to graduate?
A. Yes, for sure. Between Beautiful Bonney Lake and The Community Big Give that Open Life does at Thanksgiving, it provides almost all the service hours that most local high schools required students to fulfill as part of their graduation requirements. I could probably take care of all my high school service hour requirements with just those two projects.
Q. How does it make you feel when you participate in a community give-back project like this?
A. Tired (laughs). I’ve always been the type of person who volunteers a lot, so it just feels sort of normal for me. But any time you are giving back to the community it feels good, like it really means something more.