The ominous forecast for Saturday morning didn't dampen the mood of the roughly 200 people who came to Enumclaw to lend a hand on the Big Day of Serving.
In fact, their positive spirits probably helped keep the worst of the rainy weather at bay until most of the outdoor projects had been completed.
They came from as far away as Moses Lake and even Oregon, according to KING 5 News, who was there early at 7 a.m. to greet the participants as they checked in. (Watch that segment)
Organizer Sara Hardersen lauded the volunteers for their hard work and their enthusiasm - many completed tasks quickly and were asking for more work, she said.
The Big Day of Serving is a national event involving only a handful of cities, and Enumclaw was one of three that held their events on Saturday. It originated as an effort to promote service by Christian youth. According to Hardersen, it came to Enumclaw through Brook Hickle, the community director who is also a leader at Enumclaw's Northwest Bible Church.
Two major projects had been lined up for the volunteers centered at sprucing up the J.J. Smith Elementary property for public use as well as the Enumclaw Senior Activity Center. Local groups including those from Sacred Heart Church and Rainier Hills Young Life Wyldlife spent time Saturday clearing and upkeeping the outdoor track area, playground and landscaping for the public's enjoyment at J.J. Smith.
A group from the Faith Fellowship Church in Silverdale, led by Youth Pastor Eric Houser, drove one and a half hours to Enumclaw to help clean the interior of the Senior Center, including its kitchen.
Senior Center Manager Jobyna Nickum said of the group, "they have been awesome. It was an unexpected treat that they took their extra time to come to the Senior Center to help us. And the enthusiasm which with they worked - asking what else they can do when they finished one job - it's such a blessing."
Though there were initial plans to have volunteers help with more exterior work including painting, the bulk of the work had been handled ahead of time before the rains came by local businesses including Christensen Painting and Corliss Resources who donated gravel to line the track at J.J. Smith. (See photos of the preparatory work done by community leaders before Saturday on the Big Day of Serving's Facebook page.)
With those large tasks taken care of, the fast-working youths were able to plow through the remainder of the upkeeping and clean-up tasks fairly quickly and continued with delivering care packages to local senior citizens as well as helping tidy up McFarland Park and a variety of other neighborhoods in Enumclaw, said Hardersen.
Residents headed down to Cole Street will take pleasure in the sight of the cleaned up interior and exterior of the vacant building across from the Visitor Center. Amplified Youth of Bonney Lake brought in 14 young people to help tidy up and paint the building's exterior while Abundant Life Foursquare Church in Bremerton contributed another 12 helpers to take on the task of cleaning up the inside of the building.
The day wrapped up with a simple message organizers had for everyone who participated (via Facebook):
Our hearts are full! The Big Day was a HUGE success. Serving hands touched every corner of Enumclaw today. Thank you to the Youth Groups and volunteers who turned out by the hundreds....we are humbled by your hearts so eager to serve the Lord. Much love to you ♥ ♥
Roll Call: We know there were many more groups and organizations who participated in the Big Day who we didn't meet today. Please give your group a shout out in the comments area below!