Katie Robison, a graduate, is the current chair of the all-volunteer Richfield 4th of July Committee. I sat down with her to talk about this year’s festival and as well to learn a little more about her.
Katie how long have you been president of this committee?
What role did you hold, if any, before becoming president?
Before I was president, I was chair for two years and co-fundraising chair the second of those two years.
What made you want to be president?
I knew there was a need, but never thought of doing it until I was nominated (by fellow committee member) Tom Rublien. It came as a surprise and I thought that if other committee members had enough faith to entrust me with the celebration we all hold so dear, I would take on the responsibility and give it my all.
What are the good and the not so good things about being president?
What's good is that you get to see how everything works. When you are so focused on one event, you don't realize how hard everyone else is working and how many intricacies their events have. When I became president, I made it my mission to begin learning about every event. People may not know, but when someone leaves the committee, if we can't find a replacement, it is usually the vice president or president that takes on the responsibility. Having prior knowledge of how that event was run makes the transition much smoother. Also, as the fundraising chair this year, I have gotten to know many business owners in Richfield and the surrounding communities. Everyone is so friendly, hardworking and willing to help out, that it would be hard not to enjoy my role.
The drawback would be knowing that the outcome of the celebration is on my shoulders, inevitably. Yes, every chair handles their event, but it is my responsibility to ensure they are getting their tasks done and done well. If their event fails, it reflects poorly on the committee and their leader. Thankfully, I have an excellent committee backing me up. Everyone pulls their weight and then some. I encourage creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking. Although the events have structure, there is still plenty of room to shake things up and make things different. We want, in the end, those that attend the events to have a great time year after year and, sometimes, that requires a bit of change.
What is your favorite part of the 4th of July celebration?
My favorite part of the celebration has been and will continue to be the . Great music, food, friends and family is why the event is so great. I will say, though, the is a close second.
What are some things for this year that are new or are changing?
We have really begun to focus more on marketing, advertising and giving our sponsors more brand exposure for their contributions. With our new website launching earlier this year, we have been able to expand our advertising opportunities being that it is linked to our Facebook and Twitter pages. We are also adding a few exciting entries into the parade. All events will offer something different than you have seen in the past, but all positive.
Do you have any concerns?
Our income and expenses will always be a concern and that's how it should be, in my opinion. We were in the black last year and that was great, but it didn't mean we could sit back, relax and spend more money this year than we did last. Last year, we began looking closely at where our money was going and where the majority was coming in. That was where we started and have used that as those numbers as indicators as to whether we are on the right track. I am also always concerned about rain, but because I don't want to jinx anything, pretend I didn't say that.
Why did you get involved in the first place?
I got involved because Melissa Barns (former president) asked me to. It took a bit of convincing, but after attending my first meeting, I was hooked. I was only 23, but looked at that as a positive. I had years to learn and be a part of something I have loved my whole life. I was honored to be a part of it.
We would like to thank Katie, and the entire committee, for all their hard work and dedication to continue this amazing Richfield tradition. While this year’s celebration is in its final planning stages, help is always needed. If you can volunteer at an event visit richfield4thofjuly.com for more information. If you too have a passion and desire to help ensure that this fun filled celebration continues, consider joining the planning committee for the 2013 celebration. Planning will begin in the fall. Finally be sure to visit the website and “like” our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date on this year’s celebration.