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It ROCKS to be a park volunteer

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Updated: November 19, 2012 3:06PM



More than once in my life, I’ve told someone, “You must have rocks in your head,” and it wasn’t a compliment.

But the word “rocks” has a different meaning to me now and always will be a positive after I learned that ROCKS is the acronym for Represent Outstanding Commitment, Knowledge and Service. That’s the new name the Porter County Parks and Recreation board and staff chose for their rock-solid volunteers.

Matt Pera, communications director for Porter County Parks, said, “Volunteers are the foundation of everything we do, and Sunset Hills events and programs could not be executed without these valuable volunteers.”

He said many of them bring specific talents to enhance programs and events. For example, 4-H members volunteer to help with the animals that live at the park, Duneland Photography Club members take pictures when needed, and people with artistic backgrounds lend their talents.

So, during the second annual award recognition night, each volunteer received a lovely painted rock featuring the park’s logo and his-her name, compliments of staff member Shirley Massey, whom Pera described as a jack-of-all-trades, and the park’s art instructor.

The unique award was an instant hit, and ROCKS will continue to be the park’s unparalleled award.

I wonder if most of us realize how much Sunset Hill Farm County Park offers. Its two biggest festivals are Spring Out to Sunset, and Winter Lights Night, which will run from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, with more than 300 elaborate displays illuminating the park. There will be arts and crafts, a visit with Santa, and a student art show in which elementary art classes will compete in a snowman contest. Fireworks are planned at 6:30.

Admission is just $5 per car load. The lights will be on at Sunset Hill From Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, so you can drive around at your leisure and admire the beauty.

If you are like me, you probably didn’t know that Porter County Parks extends to Pine Township. Brincka Cross Gardens, 427 E. Furness Road, will host a fall symposium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and it sounds like a “must” for gardeners. Horticulturist Matt Brown will lead tours to a variety of gardens, and will tell why each type of plant belongs where it is.

Those attending also can learn how to properly divide perennials and maintain container gardens. Art instruction is planned, plus painting a clay pot, then taking it home. I was amazed listening to Pera talk about all the events I’ve missed by not being aware of what’s offered just miles from our home.

For more information or to volunteer, call 465-3586 or email goconnor@porterco.org.

Thanks to all involved in Porter County Parks and Recreation for the many programs offered. You are my pet persons of the week.

I still don’t know for whom I will vote in so many political races. Often, when I listen to or read about a specific office, I feel more confused.

Of one thing I am sure — I will vote. At this time in our country, it is imperative that every eligible voter do just that. Pay attention to which candidates you feel can lead our country, state and county, and take your responsibility to heart.

Then, I hope you have a great day, because you deserve it.

Thanks for reading.

Fly your flag.



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