HINCKLEY — The rainy weather Saturday might have stopped a group of Colby College students from doing trail work at the L.C. Bates Museum here, but it didn’t dampen the students’ enthusiasm for spring cleaning and general volunteer work.

“We have everything we haven’t gotten to,” said Deborah Staber, the museum director, as she took a break from showing the group of students around Saturday morning. “They’re taking care of what we haven’t been able to do.”

The laundry list of tasks was long: setting up activities for children visiting the museum this weekend, making crafts for school programs, washing windows, vacuuming and making signs.

The students at the L.C. Bates Museum were volunteering as part of Colby Cares Day, an annual event started by students in 1997 at Colby and dedicated to volunteer work in Waterville and surrounding communities.

More than 250 students signed up to participate in Colby Cares Day this year at organizations including the L.C. Bates Museum as well as the Waterville Public Library, Humane Society Waterville Area and others.

Kallie Hutchinson, a senior at Colby who is co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the college’s field hockey team, said the event typically draws a lot of sports teams to participate as a way of getting into the community.

She was joined at the museum by a small group of other students, all from the field hockey team, and wearing matching blue T-shirts identifying them as volunteers.

“It’s just a way to give perspective to our experience as college students,” said Hutchinson, who is originally from Yarmouth. “I think a lot of times we get so bogged down or consumed by our day-to-day caring about school, or academics, or our friends or families, whatever it might be. But this is a day where it’s not about us. It’s about realizing how fortunate we are to be Colby students and all the advantages we have in the Maine community.”

Colby College students learn about children’s activities Saturday as they volunteer at the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley. (Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans)

Delaney Keithley, a sophomore from Chelsea, agreed.

“We all just want to help out because living in Waterville and being on campus in Waterville, it’s a very small area, so you’re always connected with the community,” she said. “We have a lot of people come to our games who don’t have any affiliations with the team. They just come to cheer us on, so we want to find a way to give back something.”

At Waterville Public Library, members of the Colby dance team spent the morning cleaning up from a weeklong book sale and helping the children’s librarian withdraw old books to make room for new additions.

“Doing it with a group is really great and it allows you to give back to the Waterville community,” said Liz Swain, a senior from Groton, Massachusetts. “We go to school in Waterville and we use many of their resources, so it’s the least we can do to take part of one day to volunteer.”

Sarah Taylor, teen services librarian at the library, said the library has hosted volunteers with Colby Cares Day in the past, and “it’s always really great.”

“We always have different projects that need to be done,” Taylor said. “It’s a great chance to get to know some of the students and get some extra projects done at the same time.”

 


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