May 8th | Posted In Philadelphia

I Love Your Park and You Should Too

By admin


Have you ever taken a super cool picture of Boathouse Row at night, or gone for a jog along the Schuylkill Banks? Does your pup thoroughly enjoy romping around with the rest of the pack at Pretzel Park? Have you taken the long way home just to walk through one of the squares? Do you live the Secret Life of Fairmount Park? (We wont tell). You’ve gotten the gang together to for a game at Edgeley Field, haven’t you?

You probably said “yes” to at least one, if not all of those. (And if you didn’t, I’m terrible sorry about your tragic medical condition.)

Philadelphia’s parks are doing some heavy lifting. What with all the blooming in the spring, staying green through summer, shedding leaves in the fall, and remaining serene and tranquil in the winter, it’s a wonder the parks and attractions haven’t worn themselves plum out. In fact, if you listen intently enough you can hear, like a whisper of wind through the branches of an old elm, the Philly parks complain: “like, you’re a really great person, and I really love you, but I just feel like I’m putting so much into this relationship and all you do is take, take, take.” (Ed. note: I had no clue that Philly parks were Tri-Delts in college.)

You know you’ve taken more from Philadelphia’s amazing parks than you’ve given.  And I bet you feel a little guilty about that.

I had this same crushing guilt last year. That’s why I decided to participate in Young Involved Philadelphia’s spring cleanup at Las Parcelas. Nestled in the Norris Square section of Kensington, right near the York Dauphin Market-Frankford line stop, Las Parcelas is a beautiful park and gathering place, and an inspiring testament to the surrounding community’s dedication. Las Parcelas’ organizers wore their commitment to the park on their sleeves. For them, this was like every other weekend; another sunny Saturday spent bent over with hands in the soil. For YIP volunteers like me, this was an excursion, an opportunity to give up our time to support a space that provides life and comfort for so many. We were grateful that they let us be a part of such a holistic and enriching experience, and they were glad to have a few helping hands.

This year, Young Involved Philadelphia is participating in Love Your Park Week hosted by the Fairmount Park Conservancy.  A group of volunteers are going to Mifflin Square in South Philadelphia (6th and Ritner) on May 17th to lend a helping hand in sprucing up the park for summer. A free yoga class will be held from 11:00-12:00pm and the cleanup with take place from 12:00-1:00pm. Volunteers are then welcome to relax and enjoy the park after the cleanup with pizza and snacks (provided? For sale to support the park?) Come out, get your hands dirty and pay forward the great times you will have this summer in Philadelphia’s parks.

If you can’t make it with us to the cleanup on the 17th, don’t fret. Love Your Park week takes place from May 10th to May 17th at over 100 parks throughout Philadelphia. Check out all the volunteer opportunities here.

My day at Las Parcelas was the best volunteer experience I’ve ever had. I loved knowing I gave back to a park that brings joy to people just like me.  That’s why I’m excited to do it again at Mifflin Square, and to let the world know just how I feel: I love Philly parks.

Dave Laegen is a YIP Advocacy and Programming committee member. A lover of all things involving Philadelphia, food, beer, and adventure, keep an eye out for @DavidLaegen at the City’s finest parks and pubs.

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