As awful as the above headline is to read, it’s a very real possibility one might see come April if not enough people volunteer to help facilitate this beloved Winters tradition. Mike Sebastian — a Youth Day volunteer for 45 years — is asking community members to step up and do their part so Winters’ youth can enjoy this special day.
Founded back in 1933 by reverend Charles P. Barkman and Winters High School principal Dr. A.M. Herron, Youth Day was meant to teach the youngsters of Winters the various aspects of city government. It’s since turned more into a vivacious parade and park party under the spring sunshine that celebrates the town’s youth. All of which —believe it or not — doesn’t just magically occur the day of. It takes weeks of meticulous planning and organizing beforehand to ensure the event runs smoothly, safely and legally.
“Right now, we need another person to join the Youth Day Board because it’s only myself, Bob Williams and Jenny Ramos. Unfortunately, Carol Stone had to step away this year to take care of her parents, but she was the assistant general chairman. She did the fundraiser letter, all the social media, set up all our Zoom meetings, ordered the porta potties, arranges for the park entertainment and stuff like that,” explained Sebastian. “Basically, we need to add one more person on the board and help out with some of these duties. I’m going to try to have a meeting on Feb. 1 with volunteers to divide and delegate the duties. A lot of this stuff I can do, but there are other small things others can do too, like ordering the porta potties. All you do is order them, then the day before Youth Day you go down, watch them set it up and sign for it and that’s it.”
According to Sebastian, the Youth Day board needs a secretary/treasurer, they need to get the sponsor letters and parade information out, the website and social channels need attention and the aforementioned portable toilets need to be ordered. Sebastian also believes he has someone who is willing to take care of the park-related needs after the parade.
“We also need a chairperson for the kids’ fair this year, but more than anything we just need someone else on the board so we can legally do voting and stuff like that. Overall, we need about 40 volunteers with the main bulk of that being parade marshals to man the barricades so no cars get up to the parade route,” said Sebastian.
According to Sebastian, on the morning of Youth Day, the team meets early over coffee and doughnuts to see if there are any changes to the parade. Then, the parade division leaders head out to line up parade entries and to make sure it all kicks off on time.
To date, Youth Day has only been canceled for two reasons. The first was World War II and the second was due to the pandemic.
Before succumbing to gloom and doom, however, Youth Day is still months away and scheduled for Saturday, April 29. This means there is still time for community members to step up to ensure one of Winters’ favorite traditions comes back for its 85th iteration.
To sign up to volunteer for Youth Day, send an email to Sebastian at email@example.com.