For the past several years, I have tried to give back to the communities I’ve lived in by volunteering when possible.
My busy schedule doesn’t allot much time to do as much as I would like, but whenever I find time to give back, it always feels incredible.
I recently had two opportunities in October to give back — Renfrew’s Pumpkin Festival in Waynesboro and the United Way of Franklin County’s Day of Caring.
At Renfrew, groups of volunteers came together to help serve visitors enjoy a beautiful fall day with their families.
The sun was shining bright, and I was amazed at how well perfect strangers worked together to accomplish a goal.
I was placed at the soup stand, and ladled hearty vegetable soup to hungry patrons. The line was slow at first, but picked up quickly.
I worked with a group of Mount St. Mary’s students and Claire Cahill of Waynesboro. While we formed an assembly line to get bowls of steaming soup to visitors, we learned about each other’s lives for a few hours. I was extremely impressed with the future aspirations of the students from the Mount’s swim team. Future doctors, engineers and political science majors having fun together while helping others.
A few weeks later, I wanted to help the United Way with its Day of Caring. The organization had a list of various projects to be completed throughout Franklin County, and I chose to help spruce up the exterior at Coyle Free Library in downtown Chambersburg.
I was paired with three gentlemen from FirstEnergy Corp., who thankfully came prepared with leaf blowers and rakes.
While they worked to clear the walkways and do the tough part of the job, I walked around the building pulling weeds from the mulch and flowerbeds.
It felt amazing to get outside in the fresh air, knowing we were making the area beautiful for passersby, as well as the library staff and patrons. The library was especially grateful for our help, and a few staff members told us how appreciative they were because they can only hire landscapers every so often for the upkeep. A few passersby also commented on our work and thanked us for helping.
Thank you to the volunteers who worked with me during those events, and made the days run smoothly! There are so many amazing people in our communities that work to make Franklin County a great place to live, work and play.
There are numerous volunteer opportunities available year-round, and I hope anyone reading this is inspired to help with some of them. Donating your time is free, and is good for the soul!
Time flies! The final CTA renewal date is quickly nearing the 12/31/2019 deadline to renew your Franklin County CTA certification. If you took the Certification in 2018, the visitors bureau hopes that you will choose to continue to serve as a Franklin County CTA for 2020. CTAs will be contacted via email and by phone over the next few weeks before the 10/31/2019 deadline. We are here to help you through this process!
Why Should You Renew? Top 4 Reasons:
Keep receiving invitations to Franklin County CTA-exclusive events and mixers and discounts!
Keep in the know: continue learning and building on the Franklin County knowledge you already have.
Continue to be a part of over 20,000 CTAs worldwide (and over 150 Franklin County CTAs!) who work together to enhance the visitor experience, make people feel welcome, and give back to their city everyday.
Continue to meet new people in Franklin County, make friends in the community, and discover new volunteer opportunities.
Pay your $25 renewal fee (payable by check or cash). To pay by credit card, you can call us at 717-552-2977. Checks can be made out to “FCVB” and mailed to 15 S. Main St., Chambersburg, PA 17201. You can also come by The 11/30 Visitors Center to pay.
Pete Mason is as surprised as anyone to be retired and living the active volunteer life in Franklin County. Just a little more than five years ago, he was ready to enjoy restful days in his and his wife’s New Jersey home, on the outskirts of New York City. It was a long way from where he began.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Pete says he remembers he couldn’t wait to leave. “They taught the three Rs – Reading, (w)Riting and Route 29 to Milwaukee.” He went to college in Minnesota where he met his wife. They married a week after their graduation, then headed for Milwaukee. “I worked for First Wisconsin National Bank for a few years and [eventually] got a job at a company called Wacker-Neuson and they transferred me to New Jersey, which was a terrific culture shock.”
As a sales manager in the Northeast, Pete traveled and discovered a lifelong interest. “I’m a history nut! In my job, I left on Monday and came back Friday. Whatever town I was in – Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh – I was usually with one sales person and we would go out at night to check out the area, look for the history of the area, discover what made people tick, and determine why they would buy something from us. In different markets, the various ways people do things is interesting.”
At 68½ years old, Pete decided to retire. The couple had no further plans, but they began looking at their retirement income and the taxes in New Jersey. “We had some friends that lived here [Penn National] and they had a New Year’s party. We didn’t know where this was, but went to the party. We liked the area, bought a lot, built a house and now we’re happy. In fact, we just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary a month ago and we had our motto put on the cake ‘Who’d of thought?’
The itch to learn more about an area was one of the reasons Pete became a CTA. His best experience was accompanying a bus tour as a guide. The tour made a stop at Monterrey Pass. “I was really excited about it; it was a lot of fun. I studied up. The people on the tour had no idea the magnitude of what happened with this part of the retreat [after the battle of Gettysburg], the battle between the two armies there or the part George Armstrong Custer played in the battle. Approximately 10,000 soldiers fought on that little narrow road. The new one room museum is very nice. It’s surprising, but Monterrey Pass is one of the best kept secrets around.”
What’s next on his list as a CTA? “Janet [Pollard] wants me to take the test [Gettysburg battlefield guide exam], which isn’t until next year. I might just do it for my own interest. It’s on my bucket list.
Said like a true Certified Tourism Ambassador.
Special thanks to CTA Dianna Heim,Director of Strategic Relationship Development, for contributing this CTA spotlight.