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'The Engine That Keeps BBG Running'

'The Engine That Keeps BBG Running'

With deep appreciation to our volunteers — and with apologies to Irving Berlin — Lauretta Harris kicked off Berkshire Botanical Garden’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Party with a time-honored tradition: a performance!

Accompanied by Theresa Terry and Cynthia Tindale, Lauretta, the president of the BBG Volunteer Association, set the celebratory mood last Thursday evening in the Center House singing lyrics she wrote to the tune of Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business”:

There’s no business like Grow business like no business I know

Everything about it is appealing,

Everything about it is so green

Nowhere could you get that happy feeling like when you’re helping the team.

There’s no people like Grow people, they smile when they are blue.

Even with a seedling that has gone to mold

You may be wet and gardening in the cold

Still you wouldn’t change it for a sack of gold, let’s go on with the Grow!

Let’s go on with the Grow ... because

Everything’s coming up roses.

Everything’s coming up daisies and lollipops.

Everything’s coming up roses for you and for me!

How much does BBG appreciate its volunteers? Co-Executive Director Thaddeus Thompson counted the ways. In total last year, 729 active volunteers “contributed over 5,000 hours, which is about the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time employees,” he told the assembled crowd.

One hundred or so volunteers attended the party, which included drinks, grub and another time-honored tradition: an artful, abundant assemblage of baked desserts prepared by Janet Laudenslager, a member of BBG’s Board of Trustees.

BBG volunteers take on any number of tasks, all according to their specific interests. That includes gardening, serving as docents and tour guides, and working at the Harvest Festival and other annual events.

“Volunteer power is the engine that keeps BBG running,” Lauretta said. “We have been a volunteer power organization since the very beginning, in 1934.”

“You really feel like family to all of us, and we’re all really so grateful,” said Thaddeus. He called specific attention to BBG’s eldest volunteer, Jane Falcone, 97, who received a hearty round of applause.

As the party goers settled in, Megan Weiner, operations assistant and volunteer coordinator, drew laughs when she managed to — in a single sentence — apologize for the many emails volunteers receive from her and warn of more emails in the coming weeks as BBG's fall season kicks in.

Indeed, BBG needs volunteers this fall, particularly to serve as docents in the Leonhardt Galleries and at the annual Harvest Festival. Hint, hint, hint.

As a final token of thanks, Lauretta shared a poem she wrote for the occasion:

Here's an ode to our volunteers.

You keep our staff from shedding tears.

Wherever they need a helping hand,

you're always ready to strike up the band.

From garden beds to the galleries,

you're out there burning up calories.

You do it all with good cheer and a smile,

ready to walk the extra mile.

No matter the challenge, you'll do what it takes

as long as you get some of Janet's cakes.

So here's a toast to the best of the best.

BBG volunteers outshine all the rest!

Interested in volunteering at BBG? Come on, it's fun! Learn more about it.

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