As the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, my favorite event is the Thanks-for-Giving Volunteer Appreciation Party where we celebrate our volunteers and all they do throughout the year for CRF and the Catawba River. It is always a difficult task to express just how much we appreciate our volunteers since it is overwhelmingly so, but we gave it the old college try. We recognized many of the volunteer events from 2018 including the Riversweeps, our CREEK program, Water Watcher Trainings, and more! We devoured snacks, listened to music, and chatted with volunteers all along our basin. It was a wonderful evening!
We also had an amazing time honoring new and long-time volunteers. This year we gave out three recognition awards for outstanding volunteers and partners for 2018:
The Community Partner of the Year Award went to Triple C Brewing Co. for their constant generosity. Triple C has donated space for the Volunteer Appreciation Party three years in a row, as well as several other CRF events throughout the year. They have supported us through River Week, always giving more than expected. They have done three beer releases of a Catawba River-inspired Hazy River IPA where proceeds benefit CRF. We are extremely grateful for their unwavering support of CRF and our mission!
The Outstanding New Volunteer Award went to Jessie Laney. Jessie has been instrumental in the success and growth of our newly formed Young Allies of the River (YAR) group. She has attended the majority of the YAR events, recruited new members, made incoming members feel welcome, and she has taken a leadership role in planning the future of the group. We are so happy she has given so much time to CRF and YAR, and we cannot wait to see what she contributes moving forward!
The Alice Battle Volunteer of the Year Award goes to a wonderful group of people: the Lake Wateree Riversweep Planning Committee – Bill Stroup, Larry Risvold, Patti Ingram, Clyde McFadden, Bill Iskrzak, and Milt Marley. Lake Wateree took the guidance from the Lake Wylie Riversweep Planning Committee and made it uniquely theirs. The committee meets several months in advance to begin planning the Riversweep. They work together to coordinate three launch sites, fundraising, and a huge after party. Each year the Riversweep grows, drawing new volunteers while many of the same individuals and families return every year. Their dedication is admirable, and their love of Lake Wateree is undeniable. It has been a pleasure to work with them each year to plan and execute an amazing event, and I was so proud to give them the award for Volunteer of the Year for 2018!
For our volunteers who could not be with us, we want to say thank you for every second you spend supporting CRF and the Catawba River! We hope to see you next November.