St. Charles, IL has a wonderful community filled with fantastic dining, retail, and activities for people to enjoy. This city is also home to many excellent events that take place throughout the year. From Scarecrow Weekend to the Fine Art Show, each event is unique and is memorable to all who attend. However, all of this could not be possible without the help of volunteers. With International Volunteer Day being December 5th, there's no better time to talk about volunteering with the St. Charles Business Alliance, and to learn a little more about the experience of doing so from some of the volunteers themselves.
Getting involved is easy: simply go to stcalliance.org/volunteer and fill out the brief volunteer form at the bottom of the page. From there, the St. Charles Business Alliance will contact you for upcoming volunteer activities! If you're looking to volunteer for a particular event, each event website will have a sign up link that you can submit to get involved. You can find the sign up link posted near the time of that particular event.
Volunteering can be truly fulfilling, and it makes a tremendous impact on your community. All it takes is to get started, and you'll find that it's an extremely enjoyable experience. Jan Wilson, a dedicated volunteer in the St. Charles community, and part of the "Events Committee", shares her experience getting involved:
"I started volunteering when my daughter was young because my mother was never able to being a single working mom. I found the more I volunteered the more I enjoyed it. I love St. Charles and the people I've met here through volunteering. I have met so many wonderful people."
Amanda Stephens, the chair for the "Marketing & Promotions Committee", shares a little bit about how she got her start with the St. Charles Business Alliance, and what she enjoys about volunteering:
"I got started volunteering with the St. Charles Business Alliance 10 years ago. After creating a Parade Float for the St. Charles Electric Christmas Parade for The Filling Station Pub & Grill I was invited to an event at McNally's promoting the upcoming St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Filling Station participated again in the St. Patrick's Day Parade and was recognized for the float design. After that, I was part of the Marketing and Promotions Committee for the St. Charles Business Alliance. I love volunteering and staying involved with the St. Charles Business Alliance. This organization really helps the business community. I know how many business owners run their day to day because they are awesome at it! Local businesses can utilize the St. Charles Business Alliance to help market and drive traffic to their businesses."
Photos Courtesy of Amanda Lutz
Even knowing all the benefits of volunteering, you may still have some reservations about signing up. Volunteering can be a time commitment, and can sometimes even be daunting, especially if you're volunteering by yourself. Darlene Riebe, who has been involved with every St. Charles St. Patrick's Day and Holiday Parade since 1999, sheds some light for individuals who may be on the fence about jumping into volunteering:
"Volunteering is a very rewarding experience. Not only does it enrich your own life, but also the people or community you're helping. It's a great opportunity to meet new people and broaden your horizons. There are so many ways to volunteer, start small, find what you enjoy and give it your all."
Photo Courtesy of Darlene Riebe and Drew Pertl Fine Art Photography
Finding what you enjoy is important when it comes to volunteering, and with many different ways to get involved, you'll have plenty of options to find what you love. Here are a few of our different volunteer opportunities:
For events such as Holiday Homecoming or the St. Patrick's Day Parade, finding help for the parade is vital. Volunteer positions for the parades include Parade Banner Carriers, Parade Marshals, and Parade Pacers. Parade Banner Carriers get to be right in the middle of the action, walking the assigned banners in front of the floats. Parade Marshals are in charge of making sure all the parade entries are lined up where they need to be, in order for the parade to proceed in the correct order. Parade Pacers have an important job, as well, as they are responsible to make sure all the viewers are a safe distance away from the parade, and that no one tries to cross the street as the floats are passing by.
For Scarecrow Weekend, there are opportunities for individuals to help out in the informational booths. Scarecrow Weekend brings in a large number of visitors every year, and having people that can help answer a questions someone has about the event is crucial! If Scarecrow Weekend is one of your favorite events, then this may be the opportunity for you!
During Memorial Day Weekend every year, St. Charles hosts the Fine Art Show. There are a few different positions that are needed for the Fine Art Show including help for setting up and tearing down the materials for the event, help in the informational booths in case any visitors have questions, and help the artists as relief in the occurrence that they need to step away from their booth for a short period of time.
Aside from the wonderful events around St. Charles, the St. Charles Business Alliance is always looking for individuals who want to get involved in a variety of different committees that support the city. These committees include "Business Development and Sales", "Marketing and Promotions", "Organization", and "Events".
The "Business Development and Sales Committee" is responsible for supporting the local businesses in St. Charles. They provide education and variety of services, and look for ways to increase business retention. The responsibility of the "Marketing and Promotions Committee" is to deliver the message about the benefits of everything there is in St. Charles, including shopping, dining, outdoors, and the many positives about living in St. Charles. The "Organization Committee" is in charge of the communication between the St. Charles Business Alliance and all stakeholders. They are also organize volunteer recruitment to help our community continue to thrive. The "Events Committee" is separated into three different committees: "Fine Art Show", "Parade", and "Scarecrow Weekend". All three of these committees are responsible to help plan and execute that event.
Not only is getting involved impactful, but it's also an excellent way to create long-lasting memories, and even make long-lasting friends. The overall benefit of volunteering is great, and we encourage everyone to experience it. Steve Martin has been Chief marshal of the St. Charles Electric Christmas Parade and St. Patrick's Day Parade over 42 years and has countless more experience volunteering in the St. Charles community. He shared with us a little bit about what he has enjoyed most about his volunteering experience:
"Volunteering is a part of life for me. I've been volunteering for over 50 years, serving on many boards of directors and committees, working on countless projects and programs, and hopefully making a positive difference in our community in the process. It's been a great way to meet so many wonderful people and gain so many new friends. I've marshaled over 75 parades in St. Charles since 1980, which has been an ongoing favorite volunteer experience. I highly recommend volunteering: it improves your life!"
Photo Courtesy of Steve Martin
On this International Volunteer Day, take some time to consider volunteering in St. Charles. With a new year of events right around the corner, it's a great time to start thinking about what you enjoy, and getting involved in it! Not only does it benefit many individuals around you, but it's an enjoyable experience, as well. Volunteering is an important ingredient in making St. Charles the great community that it is.
For more information on how to get involved, and to sign up as a volunteer with the St. Charles Business Alliance, please visit stcalliance.org/volunteer.