Growing up in New Milford, I heard kids making fun of our "bodunk" town. It always stung to hear the Danbury kids call us a cow town for whatever reason. I could tell they were trying to insult us in some way, but I never really could figure out why that was a put down. Cows rock. I love milk and ice cream and cheese. I guess they don't. I dunno! I was proud at a young age of our town because it's simply pretty amazing. Or as we'd say in the 80's it was "totally awesome, dude." And y'know what? It still is totally awesome.
We have our Spring cleanup here this weekend. I was involved in my first Spring Cleanup at the park about 8 or 9 years ago which is long before I worked here. I am still amazed to see our friends and neighbors (odd that we separate those isn't it?) show up with rakes and leaf-blowers and help clean up the park. I get it, people are busy and it's Spring so every yard and house needs that cleaning to get that stench of Winter behind us. I'm not being flip when I tell you it brings a tear to my eye and I literally get goosebumps when I see families showing up to put a little sweat equity into "The People's Park." I have had to stop and collect myself as it's overwhelming to see what an amazing community we are all a part of. Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition. It happens.
April is such an interesting month. The cold snaps and the sun comes back out to get it all going again. Flowers begin to pop up and the energy level simply rises, like a morning sun. It's a beautiful month. The Clean-up really kicks off what was always considered "park season" around here. The egg hunt has grown into something far bigger than we had ever dreamed of and last year welcomed over 600 kids. Every kid got a book and had the chance to meet with the Easter Bunny. No one "missed the fun" or was turned away. it was truly a joy to see. As a private park, we do not receive help from the town in cleanup or in funding so it's really difficult to maintain a 48-acre park on a smaller budget with growing expenses. Our community is responsible for our success. And what is success? Success is a safe, clean and natural place for activity. That's how I see it anyway for us. And I believe in that regard, we truly are successful, but we also need so much help.
At the end of the month, we are taking part once again in Give Local. This is a 36-hour online donation event. A bunch of Western CT takes part in this event and some don't know what it really is. To break it down to simple terms, the CT Community Foundation organizes this event where every donation made by someone in the public is met by a percentage of matching dollars from some large corporate sponsors. In the past we have received about 12% more in each donation. So if someone gives $50, we receive $56. It doesn't sound huge, but it IS because it all adds up. We hope that you consider a small (or large) donation to Harrybrooke Park this year to help us maintain that "success" I mentioned earlier. And yes, we hope you contribute to other groups that you hold close to your heart. I know that I do, and we can all give a little to make a BIG LOCAL difference.
So what is this community? It's not just the tangibles. It's all of the intangibles. It's the giving of sweat equity. It's including your kids to help clean up their park. It IS a small contribution financially when you can spare it. A community is people coming together for one another and giving us all those goosebumps that are a sign from the universe that we are simply getting it right. Thank you all for your continued support. It does NOT fall on deaf ears. It is greatly appreciated ... and yeah, peacocks should be here very very soon :)
The blogs are written by our park Executive Director, Billy Buckbee. Some call him Mo but he's the guy with the beard you see around the park.