It’s a very special day that comes around every year! It really is a party to show the genuine appreciation to the many volunteer members who docent and fill many other jobs at the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM), Oakland, California. This year the volunteer appreciation day party was held at the home and garden of Gordon Deeg.The event started around 2 PM, on Saturday, May 3, 2014. As people began showing up they were put to work setting up tables and chairs, table cloths, BBQ grills, and all the accessories associated with a grand old BBQ party. When arriving one could not resist walking around the bonsai garden collection established by Gordon at his home. Some of the guests came directly from the BGLM as they spent the morning hours there volunteering.
Plenty of food and beverages were served. Not to forget some wonderful deserts. After the late lunch or early dinner, there were several scheduled important activities.
First, there was a new BGLM membership program introduced during the volunteer appreciation party. According to Joe Byrd, BGLM Director, “becoming a BGLM member is quite simple. Anyone can pick up a membership card at the garden and complete the information portion of the card and then hand it in along with a donation of $5.00 or more. Volunteers need not contribute money as they already donate their time and energy. Each BGLM member receives a pin to wear (see photo below), and is invited to membership events that are planned throughout the year. It is a simple way of acknowledging the garden’s supporters and having some fun events that will draw them back to visit again and again!”
Then Gordon took center stage to thank every one of the BGLM volunteers for their support during the past six years of his guidance as Director of the garden. Gordon acknowledged a list of some 72 volunteers at the garden during 2013. He identified by name certain individuals who assisted him in his directorship duties. He said BGLM is the only bonsai collection in the U.S. supported solely by volunteers and private donations.
At that time, Gordon recognized and presented volunteer awards to individuals with the most volunteer hours during the calendar 2013 year at the garden. Everybody who had donated at least one hour of their time at the BGLM during the calendar 2013 was invited. There were some special prizes given in addition to awards for total hours. Gordon even raffled some bonsai from his personal collection to the guests on hand.
Bob Gould presented a plaque to Gordon honoring him for the past six years as the Director of BGLM. Gordon will continue work at the BGLM as the Garden Master.