After last weekend’s great experience at the Texas Horse Park I was excited about spending my Saturday morning working with Groundwork Dallas again. This weekend’s task was Operation A. C. T. (A Clean Trinity) with two different staging locations along the Trinity. I choose Rochester Park.
It was a very different scene than last weekend. Not only the location which was a well frequented park that I drive by daily as I travel down 175. But, also the number of volunteers. There were at least 20 teenagers gathered at the pavilion ready to work when I showed up at 9:00 am.
We were all given a T-shirt, gloves, a trash bag and litter sticks (always wanted to operate one of those). We headed out across the park to gather trash. I started out super ambitious and stopped about every 8 inches picking up a cigarette butt or a Bud bottle cap.
You know how somethings in life happen for a reason. Do you pay attention to Karma? So just 24 hours before one of my peers who is responsible for the blog at my 9 to 5 job went off on litterbugs. Publicly on the world-wide web. And the litter bug happened to be a smoker. My immediate reaction was come on, smokers can’t get away with anything these days. 24 hours later I am face to face with thousands of cigarette butts and countless litterbugs.
Okay, okay I am not perfect and I have littered before. But gracious! I picked up more beer bottle caps, butts, cigar wrappers, and candy wrappers than I ever expected to encounter. I am all for live and let be when it comes to anybody’s fun of choice. But, this experience really brought it home that each individual action can really add up to a bad experience for everyone if people don’t take responsibility for themselves.
As we continued to clean the landscape began to change and bag after bag began to pile up in the dumpster. And before I knew it we were packing up and hot dogs were being distributed and happily consumed.
But this is when the really good part started. Groundwork Dallas’ leaders gathered all the teenagers and begin to talk about the upcoming summer jobs that are coming available.
The more I heard the more appreciated the opportunity and the teens involved. All of the teenagers there are able to work with Groundwork Dallas each Saturday from now until the end of the school year on a volunteer basis. Once school ends the top ten performers will be selected for a paid summer job. Each day would be split between morning activities building and maintaining the trails and the afternoon “fun” activities, like water sampling at the Trinity River Audubon Center. But the coolest fun activity was working with D.O.R.B.A. (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) in building a mountain bike that each individual will take with them at the end of the summer.
As the details of the summer program were being worked through with the teenagers, and hot dogs disappearing I slipped back to my “real” life. But, as the week has gone on I have keep up with Groundwork Dallas and marked my calendar with the next opportunity to get involved. And I realize that preserving the number one reason that I love where I live, the Trinity Forest, is worth being a part of my real life.
To get involved with the Groundwork Dallas visit, www.groundworkdallas.org
To see the results of last week’s efforts, check out the pictures of Kay Bailey Hutchison’s visit to the Texas Horse Park on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Texas-Horse-Park/264995458881
To learn out more about D.O.R.B.A visit, http://www.dorba2.com/