The girl listened patiently as adults did the talking:
About funding trails, constructions projects, and volunteers,
And she waited to dance, to play, to perform, TO DRUM.
And in that moment she discovered
A community, that lives, works, and plays,
With a passion about making connections happen.
I’ve worked for Fort Wayne Trails for just over three months now, and even though I've worked for community organizations for thirty years, I’ve never encountered such happy and positive event participants as I have with people who are passionate about our trail system. Whether they are engagers, planners, funders, or dreamers, trail enthusiasts embody the ideal of connecting our community. Maybe it’s all the endorphins generated by running, cycling, or walking the trails. Or, maybe it’s what happens when people find the place where they are most comfortable. I’m not sure, but whatever “it” is, it was evident in quantity at our Trek the Trails Kick-off Party, held on the Wells Street Bridge.
We began the event with our “State of the Trails,” which consisted of updates about current and future projects and funding. Dawn Ritchie, City Greenways Manager, went into detail about Mayor Henry's trail commitments that leverage our donor dollars in every city quadrant, and Nelson Peters, Allen County Commissioner, announced an annual commitment to stretch our donations even further, helping to preserve and build corridors in unincorporated Allen County that will begin to stretch throughout our region.
With the help of the Omotayo Rites of Passage Drums Not Guns Drum Circle, cyclists began their weekly Trek the Trails ride, while others in the audience began a Dance-Walk to Headwaters Park and back. Led by Diane Rogers, the Drum Circle was developed as a program offered at the McMillen Park Community Center and they gave their first public performance at our Kick-off. The Drum Circle hit it out of the proverbial ballpark, lending energy and enthusiasm and the perfect send-off for the trail users.
It’s exciting to hear that we may have 100 miles of trails by 2017, 100 miles can sound small in relation to the miles and miles of roads and highways, but it is a giant number when one considers all of the safe, family-friendly, and community-building connections that our trail system not only provides, but embodies.
And that’s something to be happy about.
Want to know more about the trails? Check out: Fort Wayne Trails: Paving the Way
(Angie Quinn is the co-owner of Pembroke Bakery & Cafe, and also works as the Events, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Fort Wayne Trails. She is also the author of this post.)
Photos by Tony Frantz