On Saturday, more than 150 local children and adults teamed up in a good example of taking pride in their hometown and in caring about events that showcase it for outsiders.
Like a family cleaning up the house before guests arrive, children as young as 3 joined with school-age youth and local adults to help tidy up a 15-street area in Sycamore, focusing on the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival parade route.
The Pumpkin Festival, which runs Oct. 23 to 27 this year, is Sycamore’s signature event, and draws thousands of people every year. This will be the 52nd annual festival, and the city long has been known for it. Making sure that people who visit the city for the first time leave with a good impression is important – especially if it keeps them coming back.
After all, drawing people from around the area not only makes it feel like a big show, events such as the Pumpkin Festival and the IHSA state football championships that will follow in November also help the local economy.
The cleanup event started with a letter from Sycamore Middle School sixth-grader Olivia Cloat, who thought it would be a good idea to have children help clean up the area. Mayor Ken Mundy seized on it, and community groups including the Sycamore Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs, the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, Sycamore Park District and OLT Marketing got involved in helping to sponsor and organize the effort.
High schoolers from the Sycamore High School Key Club also helped to coordinate the event. Local restaurants donated meal coupons for the volunteers.
Mundy has already decided that Oct. 4 will be the next Kids Clean Up day. We hope it becomes a local tradition that encourages young people to help their community look its best for its biggest event of the year.