Have fun at Woodbury Days

If you live in Twin Cities, you might be thinking about going to the Minnesota State Fair which starts tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 22.  If you live in Woodbury or the surrounding communities, don’t forget that our biggest local event, Woodbury Days, starts just one day after the State Fair on Friday, Aug. 23.

Woodbury Days is a three-day annual event that offers something fun for everyone, young and old. It takes place at Ojibway Park on the second to last weekend in August. This year Woodbury Days celebrates the 35th anniversary.

Every year around 30,000 people go to this family focused event to enjoy wonderful food, live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and much more! Families and friends visit Woodbury Days to be part of the community while they relax and enjoy the end of summer. Kids have lots of fun with the coin hunt, carnival and petting zoo.

To get more detailed info about Woodbury Days, visit its website or download a new free app available at the App Store or Google Play. The Woodbury Days app will give you instant access to the Schedule of Events, Event Deals, Map of the Grounds, Taste of Woodbury Menu, List of Vendors at the Park, Parking Options and More.  It is also your complete guide to the Button of Savings Program.  It will include a complete list of Button of Savings Discounts, Awesome!August Events, Prizes and Mobile Only Daily Deals.  You will even be able to tag your favorites so you don’t miss out on anything!  It is your complete guide to Woodbury Days right at your fingertips.

I will be volunteering at the Info Booth on Saturday morning, as I have done in the past few years with my kids. If you are interested in volunteering, You can still sign up here.  It takes over 250 volunteers to help make Woodbury Days a success. Woodbury Days offers a great opportunity to volunteer for the local community.

Hope to see you at Woodbury Days!

2012 Woodbury Days

Today I volunteered with my kids at the Woodbury Days Info booth.

Every year since I moved to Woodbury in 2001, I go to Woodbury Days, except maybe a couple of times when I was out of town for vacation. For me, Woodbury Days is not only closed to home, but also more personal and manageable than the Minnesota State Fair. I would rather miss Minnesota State Fair than Woodbury Days.

2006 was a year of change for me. My volunteer work for Woodbury Days also started in 2006.

My kids always went along to Woodbury Days since they were 3 and 1 years old. As they got older, they also got involved in volunteering with me.

The other day my kids laughed at me for my new hair cut: “Hilarious! you look like a kid.” Now at age 14 and 12, both are taller than I. Now I do have to look up to them. Does that make me a kid? I would rather be a kid than an old woman :-)

It wasn’t long ago that they were kids. How time has changed!


State Fair and Woodbury Days – time to volunteer

The Minnesota State Fair starts this Thursday and the Woodbury Days this Friday. I go to both events every year, in the last few years also as a volunteer.

On Friday morning I will be volunteer at MnDOT booth in the State Fair Education Building. On Saturday morning, I will be at the Woodbury Days’ Info booth.

I once wrote a post titled Why volunteering?

I like to get involved in community events to be informed and engaged. However, during the current season of my life, I don’t have a lot of free time, so my volunteer activities are limited. But volunteering once a year for the State Fair or Woodbury Days is manageable.

I bring my two kids with me. In the last few years, they have volunteered along with me for Woodbury Days or other organizations. I want to install in them this spirit of voluntarism. As I said in my previous post Voluntarism: “The unmatchable spirit of voluntarism found in this country is part of what makes United States one of the greatest countries, if not the greatest country on earth now.”

A community is as good as its people. The more people get involved and engaged, the better the community becomes.

Volunteering at library book sale

Since 2006, I have been volunteering at the annual book sale of Wasnington County Library, R. H. Stafford Branch Library in Woodbury.

In a Woodbury Bulletin column dated April 4, 2007, I talked about becoming a volunteer and volunteering for the library book sale. I have enjoyed doing it every year with my two children.

Today was the last day of the 2011 Big Book Sales at the  R. H. Stafford Branch Library in Woodbury. I went with my kids again.

As a tradition, there was the bag sale on the last day of the sale that started on Friday. For $4 a bag, you can buy as many items as they can fit in the bag. It was a good deal. So we had a good turnout.

My job at the book sale was really easy. I was the cashier. I didn’t even have to count and charge by the items, just buy the bags.   

When my shift was over, I took time to browse and pick some books I like. I went home with free books for me and my kids.

Like I said in my column, “I went home not only with a good feeling in my heart, but also with some good books in my hand. I also felt I got more back than I gave of my time and effort.”

I definitely got a lot more back than I gave.

By the way, I was so focused on the event today, I totally forgot my daughter’s piano lesson. I got a call from the piano teacher and asked me where I was. I had to leave quickly. Luckily, we were done picking books and was about to leave. I just couldn’t believe I forgot it. This never happened before.

The incident just shows a book lover can easily get lost in books and forgets everything else.

Why volunteering?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity.

During the current season of my life, I spend a lot of time on my two kids. On most afternoons or evenings they have activities for which I am the dedicated chauffeur. I don’t have much time left to pursue other interests besides reading and writing.

One thing I would like to do is to volunteer. I have volunteered to do fundraising for non-profit organizations, to help with library book sale in the community and with health & wellness related causes in my workplace.

I would like to do more when I have more time in the future.

Last week I went to a presentation on volunteering by Sue Moyer of the Greater Twin Cities United Way Caring Connection to learn more about volunteering. Sue Moyer shared the following interesting facts about volunteering.

According to University of Minnesota Psychologist Mark Snyder, PhD, who studies volunteerism, 45% of adults in US volunteer. The # 1 reason for volunteering is a matter of values. Concern for others, altruism – part of being human is helping others.

Dr. Snyder identified five primary motivations for volunteering.

(1) Values. Volunteering to satisfy personal values or humanitarian concerns.  For some people, it’s an expression of faith – desire to serve and give back.

(2) Community concern. Volunteering to help a particular community, such as a neighborhood or group, to which you feel attached.

(3) Esteem enhancement. Volunteering to feel better about oneself, or escape other pressures.

(4) Understanding. Volunteering to gain a better understanding of other people, cultures or places.

(5) Personal development. Volunteering to challenge yourself, meet new people and make new friends, or acquire new skills and further one’s career. Unemployed wants to work for a nonprofit to enhance her resume and gain experience. Volunteering can lead to full-time employment.

There are many benefits of volunteering. In addition to what’s mentioned above, volunteering can improve personal health and wellness.

Survey done by UnitedHealth Group and Volunteer Match in March 2010 (4582 respondents) shows:

  • 41 % of the people they surveyed had volunteered in the past year
  • 52% of those reported volunteering on a regular basis
  • 45% of the volunteers donated 50 hours or more a year (the mean was 120 hours)

Most popular volunteer activities reported in this study were:

  • Fundraising (26%)
  • Collections, preparation, distribution or serving of food (21%)
  • Tutoring or teaching (20%)
  • Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee (18%)

The following are a few things to consider when you think about volunteering:

  • Why? What’s the motivation? – what do you want out of it? Meet new people, learn new skill, expression of faith, desire to give back?
  • What? What issues interest you? – What are you passionate about? hunger, homelessness, literacy, animal, children?
  • How? What are your skill sets? – technical, musical or learn a new skill
  • When? What’s your time frame? – how much time, time of day and day of week, ongoing or one-time commitment, etc. 
  • Where? What location? – close to home or work

How can you find volunteer opportunities?

Use United Way Caring Connection. It’s a searchable database with several parameters:

  • interest area
  • by agency
  • projects good for – groups, teens – find an activity for your family, kids or 55+
  • distance from your zip code

Remember, helping others can enrich your life and make your community a better place to live.

Volunteering at Afton State Park

My kids and I spent two hours this morning at the Afton State Park to do some volunteer work. The event was organized by a state agency for the state employees. Four other state parks in Twin Cities also participated in the event.

There were about 40-50 volunteers at the Afton State Park. We were divided into different groups. Our group of seven helped with the buckthorn removal.

We were given a trail section. We cut down buckthorn on each side of the trail. The purpose of trimming the trails is to create wide open ski trails once the snow falls.

I heard about buckthorn before. It’s a very invasive specie and can take over natural areas and crowd out  native plants or other more desirable species. That’s why cities and counties often ask for volunteers to help remove bockthorn. But I had never participated before. So this was a first experience. Now I have first hand experience and know what’s that about.

After we finished the work, my kids and I hiked a little bit. I took a few photos of the St. Croix River. The view from the hiking trail over the St. Croix River was beautiful with the fall color.

It was a perfect day to be out in the nature today.

Volunteering at Woodbury Days

Today my kids and I went to Woodbury Days. We had fun volunteering for the info booth and visiting the business fair. 

Every year since we moved to Woodbury in 2001, we have visited this fun community event. We like to walk around and get to know the local businesses.

I found our home church Spirit of Life Bible Church through Woodbury Days in 2004. They were giving away Rick Warren’s popular book “The Purpose-Driven Life.” I singed up for the book drawing, went to the 10 week book study offered by the church in the fall, liked it, and stayed with the church ever since.

During the 2006 Woodbury Days, I stopped by at the Woodbury Bulletin booth and inquired about how I could become a regular contributor for this local paper.  A few months later, I became a columnist for Woodbury Bulletin.

My kids like the coin hunt, parade and other fun activities and games. There are usually a lot of goodies to take home. They have become less though as the economy tanked.

In the past I had volunteered for my church booth and the local Chinese school – Minnesota Jinglun Chinese School

Since 2008 I have volunteered for the Woodbury Days Info booth.

This year was the first time I signed my kids up for volunteering at the Info booth. I saw other junior volunteers who were younger than my kids. So I thought it’s time that they join me in volunteering. I think it was a good experience and we will continue next year. 

The 2010 Woodbury Days started Friday, Aug. 27 and will end Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010.


Americans are big on volunteering. People volunteer everywhere, in schools, senior centers, hospitals, and many other non-profit organizations. They volunteer in local communities and on mission trips thousands of miles away.

The unmatchable spirit of voluntarism found in this country is part of what makes United States one of the greatest countries, if not the greatest country on earth now.

Any program dealing with local communities can’t be complete without talking about voluntarism and community services.

Voluntarism is the focus of session nine of Woodbury Citizen’s Academy, held today at East Ridge High School. It is our last session of learning. Next week’s final session will be our graduation and celebration party.

We had presenters and panels representing different non-profit organizations in the community.

Bill Hargis, Mayor of Woodbury, who was supposed to be at our first session to talk about city government but missed it back in February, came today and shared how he got involved in different volunteer activities and later became the mayor of Woodbury.

I have seen the mayor’s pictures in local newspapers and city publications countless times, but this was probably the first time I met him in person.

Alisa Rabin Bell, Executive Director of Woodbury Community Foundation, organizer of this first Woodbury Citizen’s Academy, said a few words about the Woodbury Community Foundation and some upcoming events.

Valerie Jones, Community Thread, gave a presentation on voluntarism. She talked about the national, state and local trends and resources.

Dick Stafford, former Washington County Commissioner, talked about the Woodbury Veterans Memorial.

Darrin Ewing, talked about the Woodbury’s Yellow Ribbon Network.

Michelle Witte, President of Woodbury Community Theater and Vice President of Arts Connection, talked about how the permanent home –  the Loft Theater at East Ridge High School – for the Woodbury Community Theater came about and the new Arts Center to be built in the near future, thanks to the $2 million donation by Dorothy Merrill.

Larry McFadden talked about Kiwanis Club, a global organization dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

Mary LaPrairie, talked about Relay for Life, the biggest fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

Theresa Janechek talked about Woodbury Days as its Council Chair.

It’s interesting to learn about the different organizations and volunteer opportunities.

When Valerie Jones asked every participant to say one word what volunteer means for him/her, the following were mentioned.

Rewarding, grateful, inspiring, fulfilling, personal, long-term, learning, giving, sharing, etc.

These words summarize well what voluntarism is all about.