If you live in or around Fort Wayne you are familiar with the trails. You have enjoyed a nice walk along the Towpath Trail in the hopes of catching a glimpse of an eagle or other wildlife around the Eagle Marsh. You have jogged a few miles around southwest Allen County on the Aboite Trails. Maybe you have biked into the city from your home to enjoy a wonderful downtown festival. Regardless of the activity, there is a good chance you have used the trails. This week, we had the opportunity to volunteer with Fort Wayne Trails, the organization responsible for the creation, and ongoing growth, of this 66-mile city treasure.
Last year, Fort Wayne Trails parked more than 1200 bicycles at six different festivals using its bike valet service. Though a small gesture, parking bicycles has been a great outreach for the organization. It gives them the opportunity to connect with avid riders, share information about the trails, and raise a few funds through donations. The role of bike valet is simple, fun, and an extremely easy way to support the cause. We worked the late shift (9pm-11pm) during the Taste of the Arts festival downtown. We spent our time interacting with those that checked out their bikes as the festival came to an end. We talked about the trails and handed out a few trail maps. It was obvious how much the festival goers appreciated the service. They were able to enjoy the evening’s activities without worrying about their bikes. I volunteered as a bike valet almost two years ago in week 12, but this was the girls first exposure to Fort Wayne Trails. We all had a great time.
We were scheduled to volunteer with a different organization this week, but that fell through at the last minute. Within an hour of canceling the activity, I saw the Trails open plea for volunteers. They decided to add an additional shift and they needed people. I quickly signed up and I am glad that I did. Need exists in every neighborhood, in every city. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere. All we have to do is look for them. Fort Wayne Trails has many ways that you can get involved. Work at an event or a fundraiser, volunteer at an expo, or become a bike valet. It doesn’t matter. Just get involved!