Volunteers help clean beach
A group of more than 800 volunteers have given their time and talents all over Bay County this week as part of the fifth annual Serve the City with Xtreme Summer Conference. The volunteers, organized through the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Youth for America, consisted mostly of middle and high school students from more than a dozen states across the country.
The group put in more than 3,000 volunteer hours over three days in multiple locations, and concluded Thursday, June 13. In Panama City Beach, groups picked up trash on eight miles of beach, including at the Russell-Fields City Pier, M.B. Miller County Pier and along Thomas Drive, and on about one mile of Gayle’s Trails.
Youth ages 12 to 19 from Victoria Christian Church in Kettering, Ohio, said they found the experience rewarding. They said they felt they were making a difference and said they felt appreciated as many beachgoers thanked them for their efforts.
The majority of the Ohio group said it was their first visit to Panama City Beach which they described as “just beautiful,” said Student Ministry Director Kim Nabors.
Trash collected included cigarette butts, straws and plastic wrappers. Forty-six churches attended Xtreme Summer.
Groups also worked at several area schools including Arnold High School and West Bay Elementary, and with numerous community organizations including the Panama City Beach Senior Center, and two local churches.
“We are glad to have served Panama City Beach and Bay County,” said Youth for America Administrative Director David Messenger. The group is already making plans for service projects for next year.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100, ext. 2261.