Find a niche at Issaquah Hobby & Volunteer Expo

May 3, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Looking for a quilting club? How about a hiking group or a nonprofit that helps veterans?

Hobby hunters and volunteer enthusiasts need look no further than the 12th annual Hobby & Volunteer Expo, held at the same time as the Issaquah Farmers Market May 7 at Pickering Barn.

“It has just been a fantastic tradition, an annual event, in which community programs and hobby groups can get together and, one, network with each other, and two, put the word out that they exist and they are looking for members,” Issaquah Recreation Coordinator Cathy Jones said.

The expo targets a number of people: youths looking for volunteer opportunities; Issaquah newcomers looking for groups to join; empty nesters or recent retirees searching for new outlets; and just about anybody in need of a new venture.

“We have a real mixture of genuine hobby groups and volunteer do-good organizations,” Jones said.

In all, 35 groups and organizations will share information about themselves at the expo. Most booths will have interactive games or drawings to engage passers-by.

One of the groups, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, will have hiking books, maps and free copies of its hiking schedules.

Booth volunteers will share information about the club, Issaquah Alps Trails Club President David Kappler said.

“All of our hikes are free to the public and there is no membership required,” he said. “We want to let people know that we have really nicely guided hikes to walks to all-day marches.”

Expo visitors can also learn about Operation Bald Eagle, a Sammamish-based nonprofit organization that helps families with members in the U.S. armed forces, police or firefighting units.

The nonprofit holds drawings and fundraisers throughout the region so it can raise money for a variety of missions: sending care packages to military members serving overseas or returning home, helping families through the grieving process and taking veterans out to dinner and baseball games to help them with their return to civilian life.

“The people, especially in the military, make a great sacrifice for what they do,” founder Jeffrey Mitchell said. “The troops we support are often combat troops, so they are putting themselves in harm’s way.”

One of the groups, the American Red Cross, had to bow out of the expo because all of its volunteers were needed in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to help people affected by the tornados.

Joining groups, such as Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery or Issaquah Ham Radio Support Group, could gain people a sense of community ownership, Jones said.

Issaquah, as a city, would benefit, too.

“How can it not benefit the community?” Jones asked.

If you go

Hobby & Volunteer Expo

  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7
  • Pickering Barn
  • 1730 10th Ave. N.W.
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