Local students lend a hand at Enchantment in the Park
By Dakota Gunnare, Current Staff
Visitors to Enchantment in the Park last week were greeted by the smiling and slightly chilly faces of the West Bend West High School boys soccer team.
Friendly faces at the entrance of the park is not an uncommon occurrence for the people of West Bend. There are many groups who volunteer for Enchantment in the Park, an annual event at Regner Park featuring holiday lights, hot cocoa, Santa visits and more. Many area students are scheduled to volunteer at this year’s event, which runs until Christmas Eve.
“Our coaches set up the opportunity to volunteer to instill the values of service and community into us,” said Teddy Danaher, a West sophomore and member of the soccer team. “It was pretty fun having nearly our whole team there and was also a good opportunity to build team chemistry.”
The values of community and service are shared amongst local organizations. The West Bend community rallies around Enchantment in the Park, and WBHS students are excited each year to volunteer.
“I am excited to volunteer because I love to see all of the kids at the park happy and full of Christmas spirit,” said Iris Spors, a West junior who volunteered with the varsity dance team.
On Sunday, the West varsity dance team will be working at the entrances, exits and information booth, as well as cleaning up.
“Service is at the core of everything National Honor Society stands for, so volunteering is literally what we do,” said Kate Colwell, a West English teacher and NHS adviser. “I have found throughout my years as the faculty adviser, that the fantastic students here at West Bend West feel excited to volunteer when it serves to help the children in our community. To that end, we have been committed to Enchantment in the Park as a service opportunity which brings joy to so many each year.”
The National Honor Society is no stranger to community service, and members have volunteered for Enchantment in the Park every year since 2019. The group has run the entrance and exit, collected donations, run the concession stand, and helped with carriage rides. Members have even dressed up as storybook characters and taken pictures with children.
“In short, we do whatever is asked of us to serve the greater community,” Colwell said.
Kathy Nienow, the coach for West Bend Dance, has also tried to instill values of community service into her dancers. The organization, which is for dancers pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, helped set up Enchantment in the Park and will help with takedown. The dancers will be volunteering as greeters Tuesday.
“We encourage our dancers and their families to be actively involved in our community,” Nienow said. “It’s so important our youth learn, at an early age, that they can make a positive difference by volunteering their time. We, volunteer dance coaches, feel that by having our dancers participate in Enchantment in the Park, Regner Fest, Washington County Fair, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and all local parades, our dancers will grow into productive members of society.”
The model of Enchantment in the Park is based on community, charity, and generosity. At the door, non-perishable food and monetary donations are collected. Financial donations fund Enchantment in the Park and other local volunteer organizations. Food donations fill the local food pantries.
(Images: Members of West Bend Dance help set up Enchantment in the Park in October at West Bend’s Regner Park. Photos courtesy of Kathy Nienow.)