HomeCommunityLeadership Carmel beautifies community through volunteerism, public service

Leadership Carmel beautifies community through volunteerism, public service

Published April 3, 2024

BY GRAYDEN MILLER

One of Leadership Carmel’s goals is to renovate the Scenic Avenue pathway within the nine-month timespan of the program. Members in addition to organizers Dale Byrne and Shirley Moon explain their motivation behind the program plus insight into how Scenic’s renovation is going within the volunteer-based program. 

According to Carmel Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Carmel is a community-based organization run under Carmel Cares that works to improve local leadership skills and the quality of the town and its neighboring communities.

Moon, project manager of the Scenic pathway renovation and program manager of the Scenic pathway pickup posse, explains that from foxtails caught in dog paws, nonfunctional irrigation systems, a takeover of invasive species and an overall neglect to the pathway, someone needed to take action and renovate Scenic.

Carmel Cares works to improve different parts of Carmel through teaching leadership skills and promoting volunteer work. (courtesy of JEANNE FREW)

“I can’t stand looking at things that aren’t cared for,” Moon says. “Particularly a setting that’s so spectacular and was so run down.” 

Working together on the project for about three and a half years with Byrne–president, board member and chief caring officer of the program–the duo started working with the City of Carmel to expand the size of the project and get approval to kick things up a gear by working with landscapers and other volunteers from Leadership Carmel. Moon explains that without the permission and supervision of Carmel’s Public Works Department, none of the projects would have been possible.

Katie Jordan, project developer for the Scenic project, says that so far the group has removed dead plants, roots and invasive species such as ice plants, in addition to driftwood, sand and trash along the pathway. She adds that some of the future projects involve lowering the height of pathway’s benches to increase accessibility, adding more handicapped parking spots and fixing the irrigation system. 

Spending every Wednesday on Scenic chipping away at its renovation, volunteers at Leadership Carmel say they didn’t know what project they would be participating in going into the program, but wanted to better the community nonetheless. Bibiana Lamere, financial services supervisor, explains that the merits of the program extend beyond locals.

Due to flooding, benches along Scenic have become less accessible from the erosion of surrounding ground. (photo by GRAYDEN MILLER)

“It’s centered around everyone,” Lamere says. “Tourism, our locals, even people that don’t live in the area.”

Although Byrne explains that the project has been pretty smooth sailing so far, he says that the closure of the beach’s stairways has made Leadership Carmel’s mission a little more difficult. Renovating the entirety of Scenic is a big undertaking for a group of five to ten volunteers, but that the group continues to work hard at the project, and Moon says that it hasn’t gone without recognition. 

“People are so grateful that they don’t have to look at trash and watch where they’re stepping,” Moon says. “This pathway is much more than a walking space…it’s a healing space, a place where people calm down.” 

Moon explains that the pathway is a way to reconnect with nature, and that it’s a sacred place that must be protected forever. A legacy project.

In order to continue funding projects and continue their journey of improving Carmel, Leadership Carmel hosted a fundraising event April 3. More information about the organization can be found at www.carmelchamber.org.

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