I (Anthony Crosby) am excited that the star of this week’s article is not necessarily a person in the community, but rather, an annual event that brings the community together. This spotlighted day has a special place in my heart because it’s an enjoyable time of braving the Elko weather for an excellent communal cause. Furthermore, it’s a time where I have the opportunity to work side-by-side with my neighbors; we get to hold fast to the reality that, no matter how much our city grew and evolved in the prior year, we can still come together and taken pride in our “small” town.
On April 27th, the annual Take Pride Day (Clean Up Green Up) will take place. 2019 will mark the eighteenth year since its conception as it continues to grow in participants with over eleven-hundred volunteers involvned with 2018’s event. To help bring us some information, heart, and personality to our profile on the occasion, we’ve invited two wonderful employees from the City of Elko to chat with us. Today, we’re joined by Adeline (Addie) Thibault, the environmental coordinator for the City of Elko. 2019 will be Addie’s fifth year working with Take Pride Day. We’re also thankful to have Shelley Petersen, administrative assistant with the City of Elko, conversing with us. 2019 will be Shelly’s third-year helping with Take Pride Day.
Thank you for speaking with AAT about Clean Up Green Up, ladies. Addie, let’s pretend that someone has recently moved to Elko from across the country, and they’ve never heard of Take Pride Day; they have no idea what it is. How would you explain what the purpose and vision of this event are? “It’s a countywide event; we invite the entire county to take part or do similar events. It started as a free landfill day to try and keep garbage out of the desert. Now, it’s a chance to take pride in beautifying your community by volunteering to clean up, recycling goods, safely and properly disposing of prescription drugs, and planting flowers and trees. Also, every year we focus on doing a public project for the community; this year, we’re going to work up at the golf course planting trees and other plants. At the very end of the day (11:30 am), we have a big volunteer appreciation barbeque in the city park with raffles and good food!”
Shelley, let’s say this same person hears Addie’s explanation and now wants to get involved with Take Pride day. What does he/she need to do to participate? “They would need to get a registration form filled out; they can do that by contacting me (info can be found at the end of this article), or by going on the city’s website. When we get close to the event, they’ll receive a kit for themselves and their team; the kit will include trash bags, t-shirts, and vouchers for the landfill (good for one week after the event). Normally, people will ask me where they can clean up, and I’ll ask them where they would like to clean up. It’s always great when people tell me they want to get a team together to clean up a certain area of the community. If the volunteers don’t have a specific area in mind, we’ll assign them to one, while keeping track to make sure we don’t have too many teams going to the same place.”
Is there anything else they would need to know if they’re thinking about volunteering, Shelley? For example, what areas of town should people think about helping beautify? “I would say to look around your neighborhood, first. Go around into the vacant lots, alleyways, or just up and down your streets; you don’t have to go far. People do work in teams, but you don’t have to be in a team to participate; you can register as an individual as well, or we can join you up with a team if you don’t have one. Also, you don’t only have to pick up trash on that day; there are other ways you can get involved too, like helping plant the trees around town. We want everybody helping out to feel comfortable with what they’re doing.”
Addie, what would you say you love most about your own participation in Take Pride Day? “I really love to see the little guys out there! It’s amazing how many parents take their kids to participate; they have their little t-shirts on and little garbage bags. I think that’s such a good thing to instill in the younger generation. It’s great to pay it forward and teach our children how to be responsible, which is why we always have educational stations for the kids at the volunteer barbeque, as well as tree planting workshops!”
Finally, Addie, how would you respond to someone who disagrees with the entire notion of this event because cleaning our town once a year only enables people to be lazy and careless with their trash all the other days of the year (yes, I have genuinely heard this critique from members of our community). “Oh, that’s awful! I give the benefit of the doubt to people, so I don’t think it’s a matter of enabling people to be lazy. For example, when the wind blows on an overfull Maverick garbage can, that’s going to contribute to the situation. The day itself is more about taking pride in our community as neighbors than anything else. It’s not just about you or me. It’s about coming together to do something collectively to make our little piece in this big world a little bit better!”
Thank you for joining us, Addie and Shelley. Elko, Spring Creek, Wells, Carlin, let’s mark our calendars now and plan on joining our friends and neighbors in April to continue making our area a beautiful and wonderful place to live!
If you’d like to register, donate financially, or have further questions, please see the contact information listed below:
Laura Oslund (PACE Coalition) 777-3451
Shelley Petersen (City of Elko) 777-7210
Michelle Cromwell (Spring Creek Association) 753-6295
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See you around, Elko!