There’s a Forest Hills Park community meeting on Thursday, September 13th. It’s for planning a Halloween party, organizing a fall cleanup, and to determine whether there is enough community interest and help available for future park events.
Friends of Forest Hills Playground’s last concert of the summer may have also been their last ever. The playground’s Halloween Spooktacular, an annual tradition spanning decades, is also in jeopardy.
The reason: The group is in desperate need of volunteers. This notice was buried in the Facebook page for the August 25th concert:
VOLUNTEER!: Like the Halloween Spooktacular and want the show to go on next summer? Or you just like the playground and want to help keep it in shape? Friends of Forest Hills Playground needs volunteers and new board members to help out as we’re a very small crew. For “inspiration,” look what happens when a park’s Friends group dismantles: There are nearby playgrounds that were updated in the past 10 years that used to have a Friends group. When there is no Friends group, parks fall into disrepair and become eyesores and safety hazards. Not to mention they have no concerts or other events that create community! Contact us at email@example.com to learn how to help.
The “small crew” is the four active board members: Co-presidents Kim Farmer and Kirsten Metzger Gilbert, treasurer Damian Winters and secretary Tracy Johnke. And that’s it. It’s amazing they’ve been able to accomplish so much, between the park cleanup event in April, the three summer concerts and two fundraisers this year.
There’s also the Halloween Spooktacular, usually scheduled for the weekend before Halloween. There’s a fall park cleanup in the works in early November. And there’s Friends of Forest Hills Playground’s year-round commitment to making sure needed repairs and maintenance are getting done.
“There are four of us, but board members get pulled away for family and work commitments, so we joke that it’s more like 2.5,” said Kim Farmer. “We love putting on these events. We know the park needs stewards. But we cannot continue like this without more help.”
Here’s the type of help they need:
Park maintenance: This involves organizing two cleanups per year and following up with city agencies on requests for park improvements, maintenance and trash pickup.
Events planning: This can include lining up acts for concerts and the Halloween party, applying for permits, making posters and organizing volunteers on the big day.
Day-of-event volunteering: This can include setup, cleanup, and manning the membership booth at the summer concerts or the Halloween party bake sale table.
“Ideally, you’d get to focus on what you enjoy most,” said Tracy Johnke. “Perhaps you live for Halloween. You could be part of a committee organizing the annual Spooktacular. Or, you’d rather focus your attention on keeping the park in good shape. The results are tangible and rewarding either way.”
Friends of Forest Hills Playground is hosting a community meeting on Thursday September 13th, 7:30 p.m. at 4600 Connecticut Avenue. They’ll discuss the park’s needs, the Halloween party, the fall cleanup, and the future of the group. All ages and interests are welcome. Fill out the volunteer interest form here or RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.