Roughly 10 years ago, there was peddler outside Suffield on the Green who would sell knick-knacks like silly string and an assortment of noise makers from a shopping cart on the sidewalk. Suffield kids loved him, but the chaos his wares spawned was definitely not appreciated.
When I heard that the organizers of Suffield on the Green, the Friends of Suffield, had had it with the peddler, I knew his time on the Green was up. You don’t mess with the Friends of Suffield. Sure enough, the next year he was gone and hasn’t been back since. Probably best not to ask too many questions.
The Friends of Suffield knew exactly what made a successful Suffield on the Green, and its members always got the job done.
When I read in the June Suffield Observer that the Friends were calling it after more than 50 years of service, I knew it was the end of an era.
The town will miss the visits by Santa, the Easter Egg hunts, a perfectly planned Suffield on the Green, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars the group awarded to other organizations. More importantly, however, Suffield will be without the indefatigable dedication of the members of the Friends of Suffield, in the face of growing apathy, to make Suffield a better town in which to live.
Not everyone has the energy, time or money of a super-volunteer who can make an impact on a group just by showing up. Some people possess a quiet expertise that under the right circumstances can be valuable. Some are incredibly organized or have a talent for dealing with complex bureaucracies. Some have a level of professional experience that can be applied in unique ways. Some are simply reliable. Alone, these types of people are underutilized, if utilized at all. When they become part of a functional organization, the assorted talents can be harnessed to accomplish great things. Suffield had that organization for women in the Friends of Suffield, and now it’s gone.
There are a number of civic-minded groups in Suffield that I know will do their best to pick up the slack, especially when it comes to the big events like Suffield on the Green. The reality is, however, that there are too many shoes, some of them larger than we know, for the remaining community minded Suffieldians to fill. Some things will not get done or done as well without the Friends of Suffield. For the people who remember how it was, things will never be the same.