There are many facets of living in a community that we probably take for granted here in Upper Arlington.

There are many facets of living in a community that we probably take for granted here in Upper Arlington.

From one year to the next, we know our basic service needs will be provided in a timely and professional manner. Come spring, we can look forward to enjoying a variety of beautiful public parks and outdoor activities. Each Fourth of July, we can rest assured that we will wake up to a daylong celebration of our nation's independence. The list goes on.

The provision of these services, programs and special events is seamless, so much so we often don't realize how much work goes on behind the scenes to get the job done. Likewise, we may not even know which community entity is responsible for a particular project or event.

One civic group I am proud to be involved with often goes unrecognized for its volunteer-driven efforts to provide a series of wonderful family events each year. I am, of course, referring to the Upper Arlington Civic Association.

Several Civic Association activities involve a close and successful relationship with the city to help get the job done safely and for the enjoyment of all, a partnership that I know firsthand is appreciated greatly by both sides. However, it can be the source of some confusion as to which events are hosted by the Civic Association or by the city.

Since Upper Arlington's inception at the turn of the last century, citizens have come together to plan and host community gatherings and celebrations. The ever-popular Fourth of July celebrations were begun in 1923 and since that time, numerous other events have been added to the Civic Association's slate, including the annual Easter Candy Hunt, the Memorial Day Run, the Big Band dance event for seniors, Labor Neighbor Day and Christmas in the Park. Additionally, the Civic Association runs a Junior Director program that provides an exceptional community service opportunity to participating high school students and rewards them with a $1,000 scholarship as they head off to begin their college career.

The work of the Civic Association is a labor of love. It requires the dedicated volunteer efforts of numerous Upper Arlington residents, who agree to step up and serve as directors, helping to lead the group through its annual activities, or focusing on implementing a particular program or special event.

Concurrently, the work of the Civic Association requires significant funding to bring these events to life each year, such as purchasing the fireworks and paying for the entertainment at Fourth of July. To accomplish this, the Civic Association reaches out to the community for donations, through a mailing and then through "The Walk," which is coming up this weekend.

Watch for Civic Association directors, junior directors and other involved volunteers as they make their way through UA neighborhoods asking for donations, and do your part to help keep this vibrant community organization on track in fulfilling its goals for 2012.

If you miss The Walk this weekend, you can also donate online at If you are part of a local business, there are also corporate sponsorship opportunities for each of the events presented by the Civic Association.

While securing the funds to support the work of the Upper Arlington Civic Association is crucial, becoming an active part in the group is equally important. It can be as simple as giving a few hours at an event, or you can roll up your sleeves and get more involved in this incredible civic group by serving on an event committee or becoming a director. There's no better way to meet your UA neighbors and give back to your hometown.

Mike Schadek is a member of Upper Arlington City Council and the Upper Arlington Civic Association.