By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Chances are you’ve cheered at the July 4 parade, enjoyed live music during the car show and maybe picked morels during Mushroom Festival … but all that fun comes at a price.
To ensure Boyne City’s dozens of signature events occur trouble-free it takes volunteers—and lots of them.
“Other cities might have bigger chamber staff or a parks and recreation department that are paid to do these things but we use all volunteers,” said Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann. “Even a four-hour event like our Business Expo requires people to set up, tear down, clean up, sell tickets, take tickets, sell drinks—most people just don’t realize how many people it takes.”
He added, “I don’t want to cry doomsday because I think it’s just a transition time, but we do have a lot of long-time volunteers who are saying they’re just tired and need a break.”
In order to help mitigate the loss of volunteers, Baumann and Boyne City Main Street Program Manager Hugh Conklin have created an effort they’re calling “Volunteer Boyne.”
“Volunteers are an important, maybe the most important reason for the success of all our community events,” Conklin stated in a recent press release on the matter. “We need to make sure that continues, and we need to let our community residents know there are many ways they can get involved in great community activities.”
Baumann said Volunteer Boyne will hopefully result in a database of people eager to volunteer their time to help ensure local events like July 4 celebration, Mushroom Festival, Winter Fest and others continue.
According to Baumann, it can take as many as 30 volunteers to operate a community event.
Main Street and the chamber are sponsoring a Volunteer Boyne meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, in the auditorium at Boyne City Hall, 319 North Lake St. to recruit volunteers which all community organizations will utilize.
Baumann said people will be able to choose specific events and specific tasks if they like. He also said people who cannot attend the meeting are still welcome to contact the chamber or Main Street to indicate any interest in volunteering.
“Organizers are inviting representatives of organizations that can use help as well as local residents who would like to volunteer to help out at various special events,” Baumann stated in the news release.
Attendees will have the opportunity to fill out forms to indicate the types of skills they have and the types of events with which they may like to be involved.
Baumann said one example of impending losses include several key leaders of the Morel Mushroom Festival who are planning to retire from their positions after this year’s event.
“They’ve done a tremendous job producing this festival with no paid staff,” he stated. “Many of them have done this for 20 years or more, and they are ready to pass the torch to new leadership. So, we need volunteers who can step into leadership positions, as well as people who will give us a few hours here and there.”
Baumann added, “Any level of assistance is appreciated.”
For more information, or to receive a volunteer application, call the chamber office at 582-6222 or Main Street at 582-6222.F