May 7, 2014 – Meaford’s annual Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival has become one of Ontario’s leading tourist events because of the dedication and passion of not just our board members but also our volunteers. Mary Woods, having moved to the area in 1999 has been one of our most constant and loyal volunteers.
Never missing a beat and continuously helping bring new ideas to life Mary has become known as ‘Mother Mary’ to those of us who volunteer with the invasion. When I asked her how she chose the scarecrow invasion to dedicate so much of her time and energy to, this was her reply:
“I met Marilyn Morris, ‘head scarecrow’ in church and after hearing about the invasion from her, I was easily convinced to jump in and help. I have been passionate about our scarecrows invading Meaford, and the community ever since.”
Mary was one of the leading people on developing our towns’ beloved scarecrows. The evolution for “Sam” the mascot started with a scarecrow stuffed with straw, then plastic bags to the lightweight, weather resistant guy we now see hanging from lampposts in our downtown core. Mary and our other volunteers were soon adding bows and cornstalks to the posts and our scarecrows felt right at home.
As the years have passed and Mary has seen more and more advancement in the Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival she is delighted to know that what started out as a small scaled task with the potential to be much bigger, has indeed grown much bigger. She notes that the invasion has brought attention to our town from public media such as City TV and draws people from all over Ontario and beyond.
As a volunteer she has been able to see many of her dreams come true with the scarecrows when they were decked out as characters from the timeless Wizard of Oz. To see old and young alike relate to this universal story made her heart fill with joy.
“Why do I volunteer? The old adage: ‘It’s better to give than to receive.’ Yes, by giving I was able to express my creativity and my desire to give to my community. More importantly though, my life has been enriched with new and treasured friends and the happiness that IS the scarecrow invasion.”
This is why many of us volunteer in any capacity, for the friendships that develop and for the happiness of giving. The world needs more volunteers like Mary Woods – volunteers that find passion in what they are doing and are willing to ensure the best for the cause!