Baltimore County Now
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
When someone asks us about the “value” of volunteers over in Recreation and Parks, we have to respond in a couple of ways - about a gazillion dollars-worth and immeasurable! The truth of the matter is, we couldn’t run our department without our incredible and indispensable volunteers.
Now, don’t get us wrong. Without our incomparable professional/paid staff, there’d be no Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. While professional staff facilitates and provides guidance, it is our volunteers who do most of the programming, staff individual programs, and handle a myriad of details that allow the 46 Recreation and Nature Councils to run so successfully throughout our beautiful county. It really does take a team to make these programs and sites run – professional staff and volunteers.
Now, here’s a number that will knock your socks off… more than 23,000. That’s approximately how many volunteers we currently have running the councils, coaching athletics, assisting therapeutic programs, keeping time at a game, offering dancers and artists that ever important outlet to hone and share their skills, coordinating leagues, chairing programs, raising funds, overseeing gardens, keeping score, leading hikes and more. The list of volunteer jobs just keeps going and growing.
So, who are our volunteers? Your neighbors, your friends, that college kid down the street. Our volunteers are people like Frank “Skip” Hammond, a ten plus year volunteer who is President of the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council. Mr. Hammond sums up the volunteer experience with his comment, “being a recreation council volunteer is well worth the time and effort because you are able to see the positive changes in the community youth from their involvement in the programs your Rec Council provides. It is not about your Rec achievements, your Rec titles or awards, it always first and foremost about providing the best and most diverse opportunities for the kids.”
What do our volunteers all have in common? They are there for the program participants and they work to make a difference. They want to help youngsters develop through recreation, have fun, and they demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community.
You can’t pay enough to get folks like our volunteers. It is out of the kindness of their hearts, their willingness to make that difference. They seek out opportunities to build a smile, teach a skill and share the joys of developing community through recreation – that’s what our volunteers are all about!
So, we ask the question again…Who are our volunteers? Could it be you? The following is a link to all the recreation offices throughout the county. You’re almost certain to find something near your home or office in our county. Just visit our Recreation and Parks Volunteer page.
Just something to think about – 23,000, plus YOU. How’s it feel to know you can make a difference?!
Ethel Rasmussen, Manager, Office of Communications, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Over the last 27 years, Baby Boomer/Senior Expo has developed into a resource-filled, life-impacting, toe-tapping, two-day event to benefit boomers, persons with disabilities, veterans, older adults, caregivers, professionals and more. We, at the Baltimore County Department of Aging, strive each year to incorporate all of the guest suggestions, community needs and latest trends in the market into a fresh new show for our guests each year.
When our advertisement states “Discover the Power of Age at Baby Boomer/Senior Expo,” it truly means that regardless of your path in life, Expo holds features that will empower, engage and entertain you. Who couldn’t use a little of those three things in their life?
Okay, EMPOWER is a strong word. How can coming to Expo for a few hours do that? Easy. Expo brings a multitude of resources to a one-stop shop. There is no travel time. Just pay the low admission of $2 or two canned food items and use your program book to chart your course through the show to find the vendors of interest. From housing to leisure to assistance, it is all in one building at the Timonium Fairgrounds.
Further, you can meet individually with many companies and agencies to EMPOWER yourself. For instance, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will meet with you one-on-one to advise you on the best Medicare Part D Plan for your medication needs (appointments required, call 410-887-2059.) BGE, Verizon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will talk with you on new opportunities available to you in the fields of energy, technology and money. Also, there will be a special Veteran Muster area to provide information on resources to seasoned and newly returned veterans and their families.
Lastly and probably the most important, Expo EMPOWERs you through free health screenings. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and many other vendors will allow you to have health screening done and give you the results to share with your physician. Preventative health is the key to catching a condition or illness early before you go the doctor with symptoms. What could be better! Free! Plus Maxim and the Department of Aging are partnering to offer flu and pneumonia shots free of charge to those with Medicare Part B.
ENGAGEment is key to life satisfaction and joy. Baby Boomer/Senior Expo is all about it! During the two-day show, you can find a variety of means to connect with the community. No where is this connection stronger than within the County’s senior center exhibits. We have a Power of Age Art Show that features local artists that are the champions from our 20 senior centers in seven different art categories ranging from woodwork to painting. Come vote for the Best In Show. Next energize your life by stepping into one of the fitness classes taking place on site and try a new exercise for free. If you like it, you can join a class in your community senior center.
Further, you can ENGAGE yourself by traveling through the Volunteer Fair and the Employment Fair. People of all ages are looking for means to supplement their income. The Employment Fair will bring local companies that are hiring as well as some region resources to help polish your employment search. If you are looking for a way to keep active and don’t want a job, then the Volunteer Fair is just the thing. Here you can find rewarding ways to give back to your community and make a difference for generations to come!
Let Expo ENTERTAIN you! From the moment is opens to the time it closes, Expo features a wide array of music to you. Do you like barbershop quartets, oldies, big bands? Then plan your day around the ENTERTAINment schedule. The not-to-miss favorite, who is back by popular demand, is the Original Drifters who will perform on Wednesday, October 22 from 4-6p.m. Who couldn’t groove to “Under the Boardwalk”, “This Magic Moment” and “Some Kind of Wonderful?”
Next, we have a Living Life to the Fullest Silent Auction that promises to offer many great baskets full of items to ENTERTAIN you. From a weekend getaway in Washington DC or Ocean City to snowboarding lessons at Whitetail, the auction is a definite stop on your travels around Expo.
Also, you could win great prizes from the many vendor raffles that are ongoing in addition to the free gift that you get with paid admission. GBMC and BGE have sponsored a travel/medical document holder as our free gift this year.
EMPOWER, ENGAGE & ENTERTAIN
Are you ready for the experience? Baby Boomer/Senior Expo takes place on Wednesday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Timonium Fairgrounds. For more details, visit www.seniorexpoonline.com.
Janette Harris, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator
Bureau of Highways
My favorite road signs sometimes get lost in the clutter of billboards and stop signs and No Parking signs. But a lot of people do notice them because Adopt-a-Road signs mean something nice. They mean that roadsides are being kept neat and clean by people who care. This is important for maintaining good communities in Baltimore County and a rewarding part of my job in the Department of Public Works. You see, I’m the Adopt-A-Road-lady!
The Adopt-A-Road program began almost twenty years ago and has grown steadily. In the first years from its inception, 65 groups from all over the County had signed up to pick up trash along roads and help Bureau of Highways get the job done. We never lost the momentum and today 365 roads have been adopted by a wide variety of public-spirited organizations: schools, church groups, civic organizations – just about anybody who wants to make a difference.
It’s easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group must make the commitment to pick up roadside trash on a regular basis and to abide by a few, simple safety rules. My program gives people an opportunity to help maintain their community by authorizing them to clean up certain streets. It also gives high school students some of the community service time needed to graduate.
Groups apply to participate – the paperwork is simple. Then we give them safety training and hand over basic cleanup equipment with a set of rules to follow. Groups must clean up the area at least four times a year and, of course, everyone must follow all safety rules. Safety is job one! The adoption period lasts two years, but it’s renewable.
In exchange for committing their time, the Bureau of Traffic Engineering puts up a sign announcing that a particular road has been adopted by the organization, and the County provides and collects the trash bags.
The Adopt-A-Road program costs taxpayers very little. In fact, it comes out to less than fifteen dollars a road. For the price of a few of cups of coffee, everyone benefits. Such a deal!