Full Day Scheduled for College Employees to Participate in Community Service
Ogden, Utah (August 5, 2009) – The Ogden-Weber Tech College annually closes its doors each year for one week of training for the staff and faculty. The OWATC is one of the few post secondary institutions that is open every business day of the year and has classroom instruction available 8:00 AM till 3:00 PM and during most evenings. This year during the week activities employee’s are spending their time giving back to the community of Ogden by donating manual labor to organizations that have made donations to the college in the past.
President Collette Mercier said, “They have helped us, now we have the opportunity to reciprocate that kindness.” The projects include outdoor work such as painting, maintaining trails, picking up trash to youth activities with Youth Impact. The Ogden Nature Center and Ogden City’s 21 Street pond will see the 100 plus faculty and staff going through and maintaining the grounds. For those with disabilities they will inventory equipment and supplies that Swanson Medical Foundation will send all over the world. The Swanson Foundation in return has donated thousands of dollars of equipment to help establish the college’s Biomedical Equipment Repair Program.
This undertaking was directed by team leaders who found the projects and coordinated the efforts with members of the staff at each location. Team Leader, Cynthia Pruiett, has consistently looked for opportunities to help people who have lost their homes due to some disaster and has organized clothing drives and other activities at the college for people in our community. She inspired the team to take on this new project. The college is planning to make this an annual event and looks forward to providing this service next year. Following are reports about each of the projects:
We repainted an existing 8 x 24 ft. mural in the garden area. The mural was designed by 3 local artists and painted by them and children 7 years ago. It was quite faded and needed a “fresh coat of love”. The murals were painted from my original artwork. The group also painted 2 new murals, each 4 x 8 ft., of the same scene – Mt. Ogden – one in winter and one in spring. Special help was provided by John Huerta, who helped supervise painting and color mixing.
One of the best aspects of the project was the involvement of several children from Youth Impact. They were so excited to help paint. Members of the group will return in the fall to complete the new murals with two more, 4 x 8′ panels depicting summer and fall. We had a wonderful time!
Swanson Tactical Training Center
Our mission was to repaint ceiling sound baffles in the STTC Sniper Range. What is the STTC? It is a training facility for law enforcement, military, public safety, and homeland security. From the moment we all walked into the range, everyone quickly found their niche – in the blazing sun from 9 to 12 and down range in the shade after lunch. Way to go STTC TEAM – perhaps our talent was underestimated? As we did run out of paint before ceiling!
‘Very hard labor but rewarding’ ‘We should do community service as a college again.’ I heard these comments over and over yesterday. In chatting a bit with members from other teams this morning, the same sense of accomplishment and esprit de corps appears to be across the board. Mission Success!
21st Street Pond
I could not be more impressed by the work ethic of the people who worked at the 21st street pond. It was hot and the labor was strenuous but people showed up with the attitude of, “How much can we get done today?” Everyone has been involved with a group that stands around, takes long breaks, waits to be told, and ducks out at the first opportunity. Our group couldn’t have been more opposite of that.
And wow, did we accomplish a lot. Some people painted picnic tables and benches. Others circled the entire perimeter of the pond whacking weeds and clearing out any growth overhanging the trail. Another group was able to clear a whole parking lot that had become completely overgrown with weeds. Now, the residents of Weber County can access a paved lot right next to the lake, making it much easier to picnic and enjoy this beautiful resource. The last item of business for the day was to ceremoniously cut off the “no parking” sign from the entrance to the lot.
Ogden Nature Center
There were about 22 of us. We were asked to weed an acre of flower beds, wash all the windows and screens on three buildings, and clean out the Yurt. A Yurt is a canvas-sided wood lattice framed structure. It was filled to the brim with junk. We removed all the junk then swept, high pressure hosed, and mopped the floor. It can now be used as a classroom. We also helped reposition some pavers and picked up trash along the inside and outside of the fence along 12th Street.
The Nature Center staff was amazed at how quickly and thoroughly we got everything done. There were three male turkeys that hang out together at the Nature Center that go by Tom, Tommy, and Thomas. One looked like it was going to peck at Tina Smith, then jumped on the picnic table during lunch and went for my sandwich. It was a lot of hard work, but it was very rewarding.
At the Swanson Foundation we counted medical supplies, organized and sorted through products for quality control before being sent to other locations. At the luncheon we heard from the doctor who has taken loads of medical supplies to Mongolia over the past few years. It gave us a good perspective about the purpose of our volunteer efforts. He also showed us pictures of his experiences, and came by as we were working to commend and encourage us. It was wonderful to know that what we did makes a difference, not only in the lives of people we will probably never meet, but in our own lives as we stretch ourselves to make a difference.
I also had the opportunity of arranging all of the Community Service groups for this day. I was worried that I wouldn’t get the right projects set up, but it seems from people’s comments they all enjoyed their contribution to each site. I have also heard there are requests for our return to help again next year.