January 24, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 40

Founder’s Day desperately needs volunteers

Lead organizer also needed for the annual event

Founder’s Day in Medical Lake is an annual tradition reaching back decades in time, celebrating the founding of the city and its rich history.

The third Saturday in June, is arguably the biggest day each year for Medical Lake, drawing countless people into the city for any number of events.

And, in order to make the event as successful as previous years, the event desperately needs volunteers.

“Volunteers make it happen,” Parks and Recreation Director Ashlee King said.

Volunteers typically meet with King and others once or twice a month leading up to Founder’s Day, working to create a game plan for the event.

Whether it’s directing traffic, helping with the parade, handing out prizes to kids at games or just being an extra hand, the undertaking needs manpower in order to successfully happen. Several small parts, like picking up trash after the event, add up to the larger picture.

For the first time in a couple of years, Founder’s Day is without a lead organizer, following the departure of Bob Kibling, who helped to revitalize the event.

As a result, King is seeking someone to fill the void.

“The toughest question is how to find volunteers,” she said.

King said some of Kibling’s ideas have transformed Founder’s Day into a more successful celebration, involving more of Medical Lake in the process.

One such idea that will continue is the designing of T-shirts by Medical Lake School District students at the elementary schools and middle school. Youth shirts are designed by the elementary students while adult shirts are crafted by middle school students. The student whose design is chosen receives a prize package and also earns rights to participate in the parade, which nearly doubled in size under Kibling’s direction.

Slick’s Car Show, the merchants’ tables, 3-on-3 basketball tournament and softball tournament typically have a returning crew to help organize their portion of Founder’s Day. That help adds to the overall picture.

Volunteers in previous years help to sell raffle tickets, send out mailers for the parade, plan the kids’ parade and work on the historical bus tour of Medical Lake.

“It’s a big task,” King said.

The largest expense of Founder’s Day, King said, is paying for insurance. Kibling worked hard to increase the event’s bank account and work with vendors so they’re getting the best experience possible. He also put in countless hours appealing to businesses in Medical Lake to support the event.

“He put a lot of footwork in,” King said.

Some volunteers, like regular help from Owl Pharmacy, are already actively involved this year.

Although June is fast approaching, and a lead organizer has yet to step to the plate, King remains optimistic and is certain it will be a good weekend for the community.

“Founder’s Day will happen regardless,” she said. “But we need all the help we can get.”

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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