Friday, September 9, 2016

Go Volunteer!!!!

With the winding down of summer and the beginning of another school year, I bring to all the YP’s, blog readers, and every other cool person that reads this blog, a September Blog full of updates, info, stories, and did someone say, “Volunteering?”  I have to give a shout out to Courtney over at MyNorth for the idea of writing this month’s blog about all of the fun ways to volunteer in our community.  There are several opportunities to volunteer littered all over this blog, so be sure to read through all of the updates. 
I want to first share an experience I had on the morning of Thursday, September 8th.  I decided to volunteer for the Day of Caring that is put on by the United Way of Northern Michigan, which by the way, this was year 21 of this event.  So I walk into the Dome at the Park Place Hotel to register and the TC West High School Marching Band is just jamming away with their drum line and then joined by the rest of the band.  Then the Coast Guard walked up the center aisle with the American Flag and the Coast Guard Flag.  The band of course played our national anthem, but the feeling I was overcame with was priceless.  To see the 4 Coast Guard Officials and hearing the band play an incredible National Anthem was absolutely breathtaking.  I had no idea what was going to happen this morning and to be greeted by all of that followed by a great breakfast was amazing.  Every person in the Dome was apart of a team.  We all broke after breakfast and headed out to our destination to volunteer for 3 or 4 hours.  My team from Traverse City State Bank went out to Acme to the TART Trail Trailhead where we met staff from Grand Traverse County and cleared away over grown trees, brush, and dead limbs making the trail extremely friendly to bikers even if they are 7 feet tall.  For me personally, it was one of the best mornings of the summer. 

As most of us know, the Young Professionals of the Chamber volunteer a good amount each month whether at the State Theatre, Business After Hours, or other events that call on us for assistance.  Volunteering is such a great way to meet new people or hang out with people you already know while helping out a great cause.  We have so many nonprofit organizations in Grand Traverse County that need volunteers all of the time, and especially with fall coming and schools back in session, volunteering opportunities will be available for sure. 
So you are not left in the dark wondering how is volunteering fun, let me tell you about a few events that require fun volunteers. 
1.      A great volunteering opportunity is at the State Theatre/Bijou by the Bay that is coordinated by the YP Volunteer Committee.  You do not only get to volunteer, but you get free movie passes and free popcorn, which for me is a win-win situation.  You even get lucky and stay and watch the movie playing.
2.      The YP’s participated in the Beer tent for the Cherry Festival, which I am sure you know consists of a free beer or 2 for sure.  Volunteering and receiving free beer is almost as good as a piece of freshly baked cheesecake from my kitchen, (yes I make incredible cheesecakes!) 
3.      Looking into the future, it is always a great time had by all volunteering for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  Yes it may be a little on the cooler side with that white stuff falling all around you, but you get a free long sleeve shirt, and you get to see everyone’s smiling faces and different costumes and hats worn on a day we give Thanks.
4.      How do you feel about the Zombie Run at Right Brain Brewery?  A great Halloween tradition might I add takes place this year on October 29th.  You of course get a free shirt, plus great laughs at all of the dead zombies around you, plus my favorite, beer from the guys and gals at Right Brain Brewery. 
Those are just a few events that will be taking place in Traverse City.  There are so many more, and you do not have to look far to become more involved in the community.  Freedom Builders, Michael’s Place, TCAPS, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Women’s Resource Center, Traverse City Junior Golf Association, Reining Liberty Ranch, TART Trails, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, and so so so many more. 
The YP’s are partnering with the Northwest Michigan Chapter of Junior Achievement USA to bring a professional mentoring program to Traverse City this fall that will help develop professional skills of high school students in the area.  What a phenomenal way to use your extra time by assisting the next generation develop skills that you wish you would have had when going off to college or starting your career.  This is an incredible way to give back to a community that has the potential to be the best in the state.  I highly recommend everyone to get involved in this program if you have the opportunity.  Please contact Erika Wiltse at to volunteer your talents and time. 
The Volunteer committee will be meeting at the Workshop Brewing Company at 5:30pm on Tuesday, September 13th to discuss upcoming group volunteering opportunities. If you have any ideas for the YP’s to volunteer at any upcoming events, please bring them or just come to socialize and have a happy hour drink with friends!

Well my blog readers and YP’s, I challenge you to get more involved in our community, meet people, and change lives.  We are only on this place we call Earth for a short time.  Volunteering, and bringing joy to others is refreshing, rewarding, and heartwarming knowing you gave something that is very important to everyone: TIME.  If you know of any volunteering events, please reply to this post and list them.  I would love to help get the word out to make sure our area is NEVER short of volunteers. 

SEPTEMBER MYNORTH.COM FEATURE:   Our Friends at have out done themselves again with an incredible piece for the month of September.  This article includes great ideas for wine tasting, fishing, harvest stompede, farm stands, and so much more.  I have to say this article is a "must read" for the month of September.  7 Things To Do On A September Northern Michigan Vacation 
September Updates
City of Traverse City Update

Seeking Volunteers! The City is currently looking for volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. If you are interested in becoming involved with your local government, visit

Traverse City Community Giving Catalog – For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or even a biker rack, check out the City’s giving catalog!
Elections Inspectors Needed! If you are interested in being a part of the Election process and working in a precinct on Election Day, please complete an application and the City Clerk’s Office will be in contact with you - Election Inspectors typically work from 5:45 a.m. until roughly 10:00 p.m. on Election Day and are paid for their time.

Grand Traverse County Update

Have hazardous waste or pesticides? The last household hazardous waste and pesticide collection of the season will be Saturday, October 1 in Kingsley. Many common products used in and around the home contain ingredients that, when handled and disposed improperly, can cause harm to humans and the environment. These items, called household hazardous waste (HHW), will be accepted for safe disposal through the Grand Traverse County RecycleSmart program. Examples of hazardous waste include paint, cleaners, automotive products, pesticides, fertilizers, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, nail polish and remover, and pool chemicals. To make an appointment or get additional information, visit or call the RecycleSmart hotline at (231) 941-5555. Appointments are required for the event.

Grand Traverse County Volunteer Opportunities: Grand Traverse County has numerous volunteer opportunities - whether serving on a committee, assisting a department on a regular basis, or volunteering for a particular project or event.  Examples include:
Boards and Committees – serve on a board or committee – current vacancies include Building Authority and Economic Development Corporation with many other appointments ending at the end of 2016
Commission on Aging – serve Senior citizens – Baskets of Bounty, NMC BBQ, office, reception work, mailings
Emergency Volunteer – assist in the event of a public health emergency
Information Desk – answer phones and provide directions to those seeking City and County government information – call 231-922-4797 for more information
Learning Partners – mentor/tutor students with school work and social skills
Senior Center – serve Senior citizens – decorating, fundraising, gardening, party planning, programming, public relations, nutrition, office, travel
Volunteer Services – assist Probate and Family Courts
TCAPS Update
TCAPS Receives 11 Boxes of School Supplies from Traverse City State Bank
Traverse City State Bank recently delivered a generous gift of school supplies to TCAPS to help students and classrooms start the year off right. The donations were collected as part of a bank program where in exchange for a dress down day on Friday, employees have the option to donate cash or materials at any of their five locations. For the month of August, TCSB employees were collecting school supply donations. As part of a partnership with TV 7&4, the opportunity to donate was extended to the community as bank customers and anyone interested in donating were encouraged to drop items off on the last day of the drive. In total, 11 boxes of supplies, from notebooks to backpacks, to cleaning supplies were donated to benefit local schools.

Make a Difference in the Life of a Child: Become A TCAPS Volunteer

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) offers opportunities for community members to share their time and talents with local students and schools by becoming a volunteer. From serving as youth athletic coaches to being a young learner’s reading buddy to helping mentor high school students developing their first resume, there are a number of ways to get involved. Adult volunteers are background checked and placed in a school site that is convenient for the volunteer. Volunteers may choose the day, time, and activity that most suits their interest and ability. One hour, once per week during the school day is desirable and makes a significant impact. Learn more:
TCAPS Spanish Students Give Back Over the Summer
TCAPS Spanish students visited Mexico over the summer and spent time volunteering at an orphanage. They also donated bikes, sports supplies, craft supplies, and more to help the children who live there. Students also learned about the local migrant population that supports the area’s agricultural community, and wanted to give back by hosting a district-wide school supply collection. So many school supplies were donated that students decided to give the donations to the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD), where they could be distributed to support migrant student programs throughout the region.
Calendar Reminders
Student Count Day                                October 5th
TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—September 22nd
The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
TC Patriot Game—September 9th
The 5th annual Traverse City Patriot Game, the annual crosstown football game between Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School will take place on September 9, 2016, at Thirlby Field. Student Senate leaders from TC Central and TC West chose Veteran to Veteran as the recipient of the proceeds raised through the sale of commemorative game day t-shirts. T-shirts are available for purchase at participating car dealerships and at each school. T-shirts cost $10 for adults, $5 for students – except for XXL and XXXL sizes, which are $7 each. This year fans of TC West will wear blue and TC Central will wear red. The Veteran to Veteran program is part of The Little Collaborative and helps Veterans work their way through the difficulty of leaving active duty and returning to civilian life through the mentorship of other Veterans. More information about the event is available at:

Used Instrument Sale—September 10th
Do you have an instrument to buy or sell? On Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Traverse City Music Boosters will host the annual “Used Instrument Sale” at Traverse City West Middle School (3950 Silver Lake Rd.) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Little Theater. Cash or check only. 15% of each sale will be used to support the TC Music Boosters’ scholarship program and classroom mini grants. Instruments for sale may be dropped off between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (appraisers will be available). Unsold instruments can be picked up between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. For additional information, call the TCAPS District Music Office at 933-7570.

Traverse City Area Public Schools Launches New Early Childhood Programs

Friends First and Preschool Preview are two new TCAPS programs designed to help young learners grow. Socialization at an early age is an important developmental tool for children as they start to build their sense of self. As children begin to interact with others, they learn about sharing, setting boundaries, problem-solving, and caring for others.
Friends First is a new program for children ages 18 months to 2 ½ years old and their parent or caregiver. The Friends First program will offer participants a setting to interact with other children and families under the direction of a certified teacher. Participants will have the opportunity to play with toys, read stories, and make new friends. The program will be offered on the third Friday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cherry Knoll Elementary School (1800 Three Mile Road N.) and Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Road). The cost of the program is $100 and it will run through May 19th.
Preschool Preview is a new program for children ages 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old and their parent or caregiver. Children will be encouraged to paint, use blocks, participate in circle time, use sensory tables, and use their creative ideas in the dramatic play area. Activities are led by a certified teacher. The monthly Friday playgroups will begin October 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cherry Knoll Elementary School (1800 Three Mile Road N.) and Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Road). The cost is $125 and the program will be held the third Friday of each month through May 19th.
To register, contact 231-933-1792 or email Space is limited, so register today.

TCAPS and Munson Healthcare Launch ImPACT Concussion Screening and Management Program

TCAPS, in partnership with Munson Healthcare, has launched the use of the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) concussion screening and management program. ImPACT is a scientifically validated, computerized concussion management tool that is used by thousands of high schools, colleges, universities, and professional teams, to help qualified healthcare providers better manage the injury. Implementation of ImPACT at TCAPS will begin as a pilot program during the 2016-17 fall sports season, with a focus on those sports with the highest risk of injury due to concussions, including 7th - 12th grade football, and 9th - 12th grade soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, hockey, skiing, and cheerleading. Funding for the program is provided by Munson Healthcare Foundations. The program is part of an ongoing partnership between TCAPS and Munson Healthcare, which provides experienced athletic trainers to TCAPS sports programs. More information:

Updated District and School Websites—Coming Soon 
TCAPS is preparing to launch updated district and school websites in early September. The updated sites will include standard menu bars at the top of each page, making navigating each school site more consistent. They will also offer features intended to better serve our families and staff including an alert system that will pop up on all website pages with important information, like school closures due to inclement weather. The alert system is RSS enabled, so parents and staff will be able to subscribe to the feed to receive direct alerts.