Citizen Involvement Day to highlight Bath's Autumnfestby Chris Chase
Coastal Journal Staff
BATH — The 14th annual Bath Citizen Involvement Day will be taking place on October 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., alongside the city’s annual Autumnfest celebration.
The event, which features nonprofit organizations and local citizens who volunteer in the community, is aimed at representing and showcasing the volunteer work that citizens do in the community.
“All the groups that are there have a stake in Bath,” said Mark Meyers, the Community Relations Coordinator for Bath and the director of the event. “It’s celebrating the groups and citizens in Bath that participate in them.”
The event takes place in the Waterfront Park, and will feature a rededication of the park to highlight the rennovations that have been done in the past year.
In addition, it will feature an award ceremony for citizens in the community that have gone above and beyone in making the city a better place. It features a “citizen of the year award,” highlighting a Bath citizen who participates in numerous community organizations. Alongside it is the “youth award,” given out to member of the community under the age of 21 who has given back to the community.
Other awards include a “community project award” for a notable service project and a “community spirit award” for a person or group “that demonstrates vision, leadership, an steadfast commitment to projects that enhance our Bath community.”
Currently, almost 40 organizations are taking part in the event. Participants are both aiming to get more volunteers for their organization and highlight their accomplishments in the past year, as well as fundraising for future projects.
The event will also feature live music, food, and kids activities.
According to Erika Benson, the assistant of the city manager who has worked on Citizen Involvement Day for the past six years, the rededication of Waterfront Park was chosen to be held on Citizen Involvement Day due to the event’s longtime use of the park and to acknowledge the volunteer work done to fix the park up.
Citizen Involvement Day is unique to Bath, which is the only city that puts on a celebration of this kind in the state. Similar events do take place elsewhere, but none are sponsored directly by a city like the one in Bath. Many cities so have community service days, but these are related to getting people out to volunteer, not recognizing those individuals and organizations that already do.
The event itself was the brainchild of Al Smith, the longtime Commnity Development Director. He got in touch with the state department of economic and community developement, and proposed the event.
“It’s an event for all the nonprofit organizations in Bath to be in one place at one time,” said Jennifer Geiger, the director for Main Street Bath, one of the organizations participating in the event.
The event previously obtained funding from the state, but has carried on despite that lost of funding.
According to Benson, a small amount of city funds are used, which primarily go towards providing live music. The rest is provided by volunteers.
“We carry it on without funds because we believe in it,” said Geiger.