June Letter from the Friends

Hello and Welcome
to the June 2015 edition of
News from the Friends of Sarasota County Parks
This month we have Siesta Beach Recognition Pavers, an important Chapter Leaders’ meeting, scholarships for kids, Volunteer opportunities, Beach Runs and much more – read on!
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Click This Paver

Siesta Beach Recognition Pavers


You are just one step away from becoming part of the FRIENDS OF SARASOTA COUNTY PARKS’ Recognition Paver Campaign at Siesta Beach! 

In recognition of your donation, The Friends of Sarasota County Parks working in partnership with the Sarasota County Department of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources, will engrave a personalized message on a paver that will be a permanent part of the new central walkway entrance to Siesta Beach. Your paver will be featured alongside the names of past and present Beach supporters, businesses, visitors and fans that helped Siesta Beach be named in the top fifteen beaches by TripAdvisor and in National Geographic’stop ten U.S. family beaches in 2015. 

A   4” x 8″ Recognition Paver can be engraved for you with your tax-deductible donation of $250. To begin, just click here, or on the Siesta Beach Paver at foscp.org.

Questions, siestapavers@gmail.com or 941-548-6152.

Calling All Chapter Leaders
On June 25, the leaders of the Friends’ 30-something Chapters are invited to Phillippi Mansionfor refreshments, a tour, an intro to the Parks Master Plan, as well as some essential updates on the direction and volunteer efforts of Friends of Sarasota County Parks.
Chapter leaders will also get a hands-on “tour” of the County’s new volunteer software and an overview of some of the Friends’ current projects – including plans for shade structures for 18 locations in seven County parks – a multi-year, multi-thousand-dollar project. The Friends has just written grants totaling $142,000 to get this underway.
The Chapters meeting starts at5 pm on June 25th at the Phillippi Mansion – but come if you want at 4:30 for the Board meeting – and please RSVP soon to 941-468-2222 orterry@terryredman.com
edson keith mansion

“Help Me Play” debuts at Gulf Coast Gives
special children
The Friends has launched Help me play! a drive to create scholarships to send two kids to a Therapeutic Camp at Oak Park School this summer. The summer program runs in conjunction with summer school, offering a full day of activities including sports, games, arts and crafts, creative playtime, riding therapy, swimming and special events for school-aged children and youths with developmental and physical handicaps.
It’s the first of several Friends’ initiatives that will go live on Gulf Coast Gives. Find out more at the active donor page: click here.

A Network of Well-Being
Sarasota County has entered a network of more than 250 cities and communities worldwide promoting greater health and well-being for people of all ages through Age-Friendly Sarasota, an intergenerational effort to engage businesses, government, organizations and local residents in the development of a more livable community.
Among the most popular places people go to play and stay young are our many diverse parks and public lands. Perhaps it’s time to think of parks as potential laboratories to study the best practices of youthful aging – with an economic development bonus!
The Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative seeks to build upon our community’s assets – like our parks – and citizens’ aspirations to optimize active, healthy and engaged living for persons throughout the lifespan. Age-Friendly Sarasota is Florida’s first World Health Organization age-friendly community. Click on the link below to take the survey, and visit Age-Friendly Sarasota on Facebook.

Survey Link

Events Briefly Noted
All June nature events in Sarasota’s parks can be found on FOSCP.org.

Among them, a lively presentation of some of Florida’s fascinating snakes, at Urfer Park, June 23.

Sarasota’s Beach Runs offer a splendid opportunity to study youthfulness. Here’s a schedule for the Summer Kids Beach Runs.

World Oceans Day is June 6, and Mote is celebrating with a Family Festival — 10 am to 1 pm.

The Walton Ranch – Sarasota’s newest public reserve – opens June 8th and the public is invited.

Volunteer Fun
The Microsoft Store at the UTC Mall recently partnered with the Friends to clear Ken Thompson Park of some litter and overgrown vegetation. They removed 5 cubic yards – that’s a lot of litter and vegetation!
On June 10-14, Benderson Park is holding the USRowing Youth National Championships. It’s an opportunity to see 160 clubs from all over the US competing – it’s the largest rowing regatta in the country. The event is also an opportunity to volunteer — either in making it all happen, or as an ambassador, helping the visiting teams find their way. More here.
And on July 5, there’s the Liberty Litter CleanUp – to bring our beaches back to a pristine state after the fireworks and barbecues of the July 4th holiday. It’s part of Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, and the info is here.
Staying Young
There are many ways to stay young — exercise, love, giving. Friends President Terry Redman reminds us that our volunteers can always use garden tools, wagons, and the like. The Friends of Lemon Bay Park recently were rejuvenated by a special donation. They write:
  • Friends Chapters often receive donations of items for use at their park. An example is the kayak and supporting equipment that was donated for use along the shoreline at Lemon Bay Park. A big THANK YOU to Catherine Balcerzak for the equipment donation. It will be put to a good use…

Thanks to you all – for all you do.

Enjoy June!
For the Friends, I’m Tom M.