When Emily’s friends convinced her to help at the Oktoberfest four years ago, she was hesitant to come. Little did she know that that one experience would catapult her into a life of volunteering and service.
Emily Jones was recently awarded the Building a Better Boyertown (BBB) Volunteer of the year award on Sunday Feb. 5 for donating over 1000 hours of service in 2016.
“I really think volunteering is something everyone should do, at least once. Making your own community better is super important,” Jones said.
Jones, who has been involved with the BBB for the past four years, had an important role in orchestrating the Sesquicentennial celebration events that took place this past summer — including the 150th Anniversary Block Party.
“We had to secure the lot, we had to get food vendors, music, tents, shopping vendors, and coordinate the train. We had the awesome steam engine. That was a tremendous amount of work. The 150th was such a monster, and it worked out so well.”
As the head of Promotions of the BBB, Jones also serves as the chairman of a committee that promotes the town through holding community events to draw more people into Boyertown.
“Being a promotions chair means I have a committee that I have to answer to,” Jones said. “There are a certain set of parameters that have already been laid in place. I follow those pieces, organize it, and keep the meetings running.”
She explained that being head of the committee is a very personable and social job.
“It’s a lot of laughing and talking. It’s a lot of coordinating by email. I try really hard to be open and honest and fun, and try to make it easy for everybody. Making relationships and having friendships with people is what makes everything go smoother.”
Jones started her work with the BBB when some of her friends, who were involved with the organization, convinced her to help at Oktoberfest that year.
“I got conned into helping at Oktoberfest; that was the first event that I helped with. Then the promotions chair availability later opened up, and they asked me if I would step up and help. Now it has been almost two years since and it’s been so much fun.”
While Jones did not grow up in Boyertown, her husband had lived in the area for a long time. Emily moved to Boyertown after she married and since has had the chance to devote most of her time to helping the BBB.
“I’m married, but we don’t have kids. I have friends, and volunteering takes a lot time. I’m very lucky that my husband supports me, and lets me do this and follow my passions.”
Jones’ passion for helping her community, she mentioned, is driven by her love for the town and vision for what Boyertown can become — accrediting Boyertown’s number four ranking on Gateway Maven’s most popular Northeastern towns of 2016.
“Boyertown has heart; we want to be that walking town. We don’t want people to go to Phoenixville, we don’t want people to go to Pottstown, we want people to come here and experience our town,” Jones said. “There’s this bright, shiny thing. And Boyertown is that bright, shiny thing.”
She explained that while the BBB works hard to preserve the past, it also works to create a better future
“Our town is super old; we’ve had tremendous tragedies and huge triumphs that needs to be remembered, but we can’t let them just live there. We have to keep moving forward, and we have to keep improving. The State Theatre has just reopened, and the railroad as well. So many things are happening.”
While Emily spends a large amount of effort and time working to manage community events without pay, she remains dedicated to improving.
“I have made the best friends of my life doing this work, I have grown, I have changed, I have realized my own potential by volunteering. Where I work, where I live, where I play, is part of why I do this. I want my friends kids to have a good place to live. It’s neat like that.”