The chance to volunteer as a family, Laramie resident Doug Frick said, is one of the biggest reasons his group continues to participate in the city’s Community Cleanup Day each year.
During the event, groups like Frick’s clean up trash blown all over Laramie during the winter. This year’s event takes place May 4, and Brian Forster, code enforcement inspector for the city and coordinator for the event, said volunteers are much needed.
“I think if you drive around, you’ll see the need,” Forster said. “It’s amazing how much trash is left after all the snow melts.”
Frick’s group, now averaging around 100 people, started participating 10 years ago when about a dozen people from Cub Scout Pack 136 started cleaning the Laramie Greenbelt trail, he said. As more of the troop’s family members started participating — including siblings and parents involved with Girl Scouts, 4-H and other service organizations — they moved to larger areas, like Curtis Street from McCue Street to Third Street.
“It’s not so much about the combination of organizations — it’s really that we’re all families and all our kids are in these organizations,” Frick said. “It’s a family event.”
Now, Frick’s group's members consider around Boswell Drive and Third Street, including the on-ramps for Interstate 80, their turf. He said the younger children focus on Boswell Drive away from traffic, while the older children and adults handle the interstate access areas.
“It’s fun,” Frick said. “As we’re out there, we know that all across the city, there are other people out there working with us, even if we don’t see them.”
Many groups clean the same spot every year, while others fill in the gaps. Forster said city staff will be available from 7:30-9 a.m. at City Hall, 406 Ivinson Ave., to help guide volunteers to the right locations.
“For those people who haven’t committed to an area, we keep a map that shows where everybody’s at,” Forster said. “So, we can have them fill in other groups or we can say (which) area is not committed.”
Those who want to claim a specific spot ahead of the May 4 event can coordinate with the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance by calling 745-7339. Forster said advance pickup of safety vests and trash bags can be coordinated with him by calling 721-5285. Volunteers will bring their collected trash to a designated location for city staff to haul to the landfill.
Lunch will be served to volunteers from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the alleyway behind Laramie Fire Station No. 1 on Fourth Street. Volunteers can also bring their own snacks; Frick said his group brings lemonade or hot chocolate to their spot, depending on the weather.
The annual cleanup event has seen as many as 500 people, although Forster said last year’s numbers were lower at around 350.
“Last year was a little bit less because we had to cancel and reschedule for the snow day, but people want to stick with this event,” Forster said. “They want to get the job done.”
One of the most satisfying parts, Frick said, is driving home at the end of the day.
“It’s always great driving home afterwards and seeing lots of impact all around Laramie from everyone else who was out there with us, shoulder to shoulder,” Frick said.
In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled to May 11.