UACA to honor directors, celebrate 80 years
The Upper Arlington Civic Association next month will honor the men and women who have led its annual events and operations over the past eight decades.
The volunteer-driven UACA and its community events -- including the Fourth of July, Labor Neighbor Day, Memorial Day Run and Golden Apple Awards -- arguably are as much a part of the fabric of Upper Arlington as the names of local streets or city founders King and Ben Thompson and James Miller.
In turning 80 years old this year, the organization nearly dates back to the origin of UA itself.
On Sept. 13, the UACA's 28 current directors will host an 80th anniversary celebration and reunion dinner for past directors at the Scioto Country Club.
While the event primarily is open to former UACA leaders, the group's directors are spreading the word about it in hopes of getting as many past directors as possible attend.
"The directors are the people in charge of putting on every event, things like the Fourth of July or Labor Neighbor Day," UACA President Peter Walsh said. "We've got 28 directors and they're all at every event.
"We are trying to find former directors and we don't have a complete record of all of them," he said. "If they haven't received a personal invitation, we want them to reach out to us."
Past directors can inquire about the dinner at email@example.com or by calling 614-305-5136.
Walsh said the dinner will be an opportunity for past directors to reminisce about their service and reflect on the heritage and accomplishments of the UACA, which now has more than 4,300 families with active memberships. That's more than one-third of the city's population.
"It's an honor this year that I get to be president of this organization," he said. "It's amazing to me that this structure has lasted 80 years.
"It means we have a lot of former directors we need to track down. We sent out 322 invitations this week. Some (directors) go back 42, 43 years."
Although the dinner is quasi-private, the UACA reaches all corners of the Upper Arlington community through its annual work.
Members do so, literally, during The Walk, a yearly fundraising and membership drive in which volunteers go door-to-door to spur support and involvement.
Events such as the Fourth of July parade and celebration in Northam Park, the Memorial Day Run and Labor Neighbor Day bring neighborhoods together in revelry and competition, as evidenced by the thousands who turn out for parades, races and Wiffle ball tournaments.
The UACA also honors local educators for service and dedication, and provides upward of $12,000 in annual scholarships to Upper Arlington students.
The organization also provides entertainment and meals to senior citizens and celebrates the spirit of seasonal holidays such as Halloween and Christmas with local youth.
"Upper Arlington wouldn't be as livable and as great of a place to be if it wasn't for the civic association," said Tim Moloney.
As Upper Arlington's parks and recreation director, he frequently partners with the UACA to provide facilities for its events.
"Everything they lay their hands on turns to gold," Moloney said. "We're always very excited to work with them on any type of project -- something as large as the Fourth of July to something like UA Stage for the seniors. I hope we have another 80 years with them."
In its July 2 magazine, Family Circle included Upper Arlington among its "10 Best Towns for Families: 2013."
In doing so, the magazine touted Upper Arlington's affordable homes, quality schools, access to health care, greenspace, low crime rate and financial stability.
It also singled out the UACA and its Fourth of July celebration, among other activities.
Upper Arlington Community Affairs Director Emma Speight also tipped her hat to the UACA for helping bring recognition to the city.
"Upper Arlington's recent recognition as one of the Top 10 Best Towns for Families, in the July 2013 edition of Family Circle magazine, is attributable in no small part to the efforts of the UA Civic Association," Speight said. "Few communities in the nation can boast a volunteer-driven organization that raises the necessary funds, plans and implements an incredible series of community special events each year.
"The Civic Association epitomizes the community spirit that sets UA apart," she said. "The city and civic association have enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership for many decades, and we are extremely grateful for their contributions to our community's appeal and quality of life."
In addition to its annual events and fundraising work, Walsh said the organization is looking ahead to 2017, when it expects to play a part in Upper Arlington's 100th birthday celebration.
"I expect the civic association to take a lead role in what will be a yearlong celebration," he said. "We want to challenge people to get involved."