On August 5th 2012 over 100 people came together at the Ann Arbor CIL for the Recreation Open House and Final Mile Celebration. It was a celebration that almost didn’t happen. With the theft of the recreation trailer earlier that year, the program had been left in shambles. With over $30,000 worth of equipment gone, the future of the Recreation program including the Annual Great Lakes Independence Ride (IRIDE) was uncertain. Then the community started to hear about the theft and individuals from all over as well as other organizations began to send donations. The Recreation program was back on its feet, and the Great Lakes Independence Ride would see a sixth year.
The event was scheduled to start at 2pm, but by noon volunteers were on site; helping with set up. It was a lot of hard work, but they had it done in record time. By two p.m. they had transformed the warehouse into a reception hall complete with lights, music and centerpieces and were anxiously awaiting guests.
The Recreation Open House and Final Mile Celebration began with a complete tour of our Recreation Program. Displays providing information of all of our programs as well as artwork created by participates were set out for people to look at. Participants were also taken on a guided tour of our accessible and organic community garden and fitness center. Guests were encouraged to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win one of two beautiful quilts made by participants in our sewing group or a gift basket filled with Michigan based goodies from Michigan Gifts. Food was provided to guests by Domino’s pizza. Around 3:30 PM, the guests gathered outside and lined the street for the second part of our celebration: Welcoming the cyclist’s home from their four day journey on IRide. Cheers erupted as soon as the first cyclists were seen coming around the bend and continued until the last rider had turned into the drive.
Soon the warehouse was filled with bright yellow jerseys, all of which were worn by cyclists whohad completed all, or part of the four day cycling ride across Michigan. Despite having just traveled 240 miles in downpours and grueling heat the riders were in high spirits. They exchanged stories with fellow riders and with the friends and family who had come to welcome them home. The warehouse was filled with laughter applause and congratulations. It had been another successful ride and another successful year.
Thanks go out to our volunteers: Jill and Mia Caruso, Bill Green, Debbie Arbogast, Leland Foster, Erin Elly, Laura Sartori, Harry Biller, Elana Ermar, Sandee Soloway, John Evans, Jeanine Wright, Andrea Henry, Sheila Sanders, Nadia Esmaeil, Karen Eisenburg, Robert Klingler, Cynthia Parker, Ava Haberkornhalm, Alysa Mohr and Jessica Myers. We couldn’t have pulled off such a great event without you.