Just The Point: It’s time to change the name of Winters Youth Day

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Few things last forever. Some names and some events lose their meaning and significance. It’s time for the best known and oldest annual event in Winters to receive a new name. Let’s change the name of Winters Youth Day to something more modern, more inviting, more useful, and more appropriate, for such a major celebration of Winters. Youth Day has been a cherished Winters event for 84 years. But in the last 10 or 15 years, it has begun to show its age. The meaning and purpose of the Youth Day name is often misunderstood, or completely lost. It is time for a name change, to something better that will encourage more participation from Winters residents and businesses, and bring more people to Winters from our neighboring cities of Vacaville, Woodland and Davis. Over the past few years, attendance for the Youth Day morning parade has decreased. Fewer groups and organizations now sign up to join the event as parade participants. And many of the entrants do not create much excitement or interest for many of us. Last year, nearly one third of the entries in the parade were automobiles!  From its very beginning over eight decades ago, the primary focus of Youth Day was truly on the youth of Winters. It was once a really big deal for our young people, who eagerly participated in the special youth government set up each year to pair a local youth with an elected City official.  A large number of high school organizations prepared and entered floats in the parade. And a swarm of students assisted as volunteers and Youth Day helpers. But that era has come and gone. Far fewer students are interested in pretending to be the City Manager or a City Council member for the day.  Far fewer high school groups now take the time and effort to decorate parade floats to celebrate their organization, or their class year. And very few Winters youth now volunteer to work on Youth Day. Many residents who have settled in Winters during the past 30 years have no idea at all why our annual event is called “Youth Day.” Time goes by, and community interests change. Names for well-known events, locations and organizations are often updated to reflect those changes. For example, for 30 years, our country celebrated Armistice Day, to commemorate the end of the first World War. But decades later, about ten years after the second World War ended, many people could not remember the reason for, or the meaning of, Armistice Day.  So, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, which we still celebrate every year. Another fine example of a significant and wildly successful name change occurred with the federal agency we all know as the Defense Department. Today, only a handful of people remember that the Defense Department was originally called the War Department. That name lasted for 150 years! Why did the War Department name get changed? Politicians, along with the defense industry, realized that it was quite difficult to ask citizens for more and more money for war, but so very easy to ask people to support more spending on defense!  Nobody is for war! But just about everybody is for defense! A simply brilliant name change.   Changing the name of Youth Day won’t likely be as significant as changing the names of Armistice Day and the War Department, but a new name for Youth Day could renew, improve and expand the special day.  Let’s find a name that broadens the appeal of the event.  Let’s find a name that brings more people into town who will spend money at our local businesses. Let’s find a name that better fits our modern, successful town, instead of one that is merely a remnant of the 1940s and 1950s. How about Winters Spring Celebration? Or, Winters Welcomes the Month of May? Maybe it could be Visit Winters Day? Or, if we want to truly have some fun, and cleverly catch the attention of people in the cities surrounding Winters, we could call it Winters Wonderland!  OK, I agree that Winters Wonderland may be too silly a name for a late April event. But surely, we can come up with a good, simple and accurate name for the major celebration of Winters we enjoy every year at the end of April. Wait, that’s it, that’s the name: Celebrate Winters! The new name should be Celebrate Winters Day! A name like Celebrate Winters Day will give the event new relevance and significance. It should help us get more people to participate.  It will probably help expand the wonderful morning Parade. It will likely get more local businesses to participate. It may encourage more Winters residents to volunteer. And we might even get more youth to participate in, and volunteer for, a Celebrate Winters Day event. Times change, and communities change. It’s now time to change the name of Winters Youth Day, to Celebrate Winters Day!]]>

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