Make A Difference Day does just that |

Make A Difference Day does just that

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Despite scattered rain showers, some 500 volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to take part in the 10th annual Make A Difference Day, tackling 34 projects throughout the county.

“This is very much a Summit County thing,” said Tom Rose, executive director at the Summit Prevention Alliance. “You can feel the spirit of the volunteers and the pride that they have in the community, and that makes for a good day.”

Make A Difference Days occur nationwide throughout October and, ever since the event took root in Summit in 1998, the number of volunteers has continued to grow.

“Seems like there are more people every year,” Frisco resident Margaret Posey said. “And this year, it is great to look around and see so many young kids participating.”

Volunteers arrived at the Frisco bus barns at 8 a.m., and groups were assigned to individuals projects ranging from river clean ups and trail maintenance to fence building and pine-cone collecting.

“It’s a time to give back while seeing friends and neighbors,” Rose said. “And people showed up ready to work.”

Donning work boots and rain jackets, volunteers joined members of the Friends of the Dillon Rangers District, Blue River Water Shed, Summit County Open Space and Trails, Mountain Mentors and the Summit Historical Society.

“Being new to the community, this was a great way to get out and meet new friends,” Silverthorne resident Gail Shears said. “It’s a privilege to be helping the community, and we all had a lot of fun.”

After a morning of manual labor, groups returned to the bus barns for a free cookout and, over plates of burgers and chips, volunteers swapped stories on the most interesting finds of the day.

“Let’s see. We found a hubcap, a jacket, a belt and a lot of cigarette butts,” Silverthorne resident Kim Green said after cleaning up trash on the Blue River. “We got a lot accomplished, and it didn’t take long to fill up a huge plastic bag with trash.”

It was the diversity of projects that made the event unique for many volunteers, most of whom had participated in previous Make A Difference days.

“Last year, we helped put up fencing, and this year, we planted saplings near Heaton Bay,” third-year volunteer Wendy Myers said. “We have a huge contingency of people in Summit County that volunteer anyway, so it’s great to see the success of a coordinated effort.”

Although individual towns host their own volunteer days throughout the year, many locals felt that county wide cleanup efforts shouldn’t be limited to the fall shoulder season.

“We defiantly need to do this more than once a year,” Wildernest resident Jane Metzler said. “So much was done just this morning, and there are plenty of opportunities to keep it going throughout the year.”

Ashley Dickson can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at

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