If you live in Westmoreland it’s understandable how you might call Amy Bowen “Bambi,” or Bambi Patterson, “Amy.” I think I have even called one or both “Bammy” or “Ambi.” Bowen and Patterson are that dynamic duo who are always doing something amazing for our town through their work with the Westmoreland Parent Teacher Organization (PTO.)
They’ve been friends for 11 years. They’re friends outside of PTO. Their families are friends, their kids are friends, and they are friends to our school and to everyone in Westmoreland.
“We’re the same age,” Amy said.
“She’d definitely not!” Bambi laughed.
“I’m 35.” Amy insisted.
“No way,” Bambi shot back, “I’m 36. She’s 41!”
“It all sounds young to me,” I laughed. “I just turned 50.”
These two have a great time together, and everyone in Westmoreland knows that their energy drives our school’s PTO and brings joy to so many people in this town.
“We have a great group that works well together and has fun while doing it,” said Megan Otis, Westmoreland PTO board member. “We love doing events that benefit the kids and the community.”
Amy, Bambi, and I sat down at a folding table with new member Jessica DeArmond in front of the Westmoreland High School Gym trophy case. They had been there for hours hosting the town’s Easter Egg hunt for over 150 kids. Our interview was interrupted by happy children “tricking” each other into sitting on prize whoopie cushions. DeArmond’s boyfriend Chris Coogan took off the Easter Bunny head he had been wearing, it’s stuffy inside those costumes. He looked like he’d been enjoying himself but was ready to be off-duty. The PTO had given out hundreds of pieces of candy and some bigger prizes. The Westmoreland PTO always has impressive prizes, draws large crowds, and is organized with professional precision.
“They put a lot of hard work into these activities,” said Michelle Rice whose daughter attended the hunt. “And it was a free activity for all the kids to enjoy.”
Andrea Ortiz said her daughter Savanna loved searching for the eggs on the playground with her friends. She especially liked that there were raffle tickets in some of them for an even bigger prize at the end.
“The planning and time they put into these events is very much appreciated,” Ortiz said. “The Westmoreland PTO hosts many fun events for our children each year. And we attend as many as we can and are always impressed. They’re the best!”
The group is also working on an end-of-the-year carnival day to coincide with the Upper Elementary School’s “Olympic Day,” they hope to involve high school students who would like to work with the younger kids and make it a “super fun day.”
Both Bowen and Patterson, and board member Brooke Haynes, have enjoyed collaboration with the school’s administrators. They are especially enthused about Stephen Polera, the new principal of the Westmoreland Upper Elementary School. Earlier that day he helped the PTO set up for the children’s Easter Egg hunt.
“Mr. Polera is amazing, he always volunteers” Amy Bowen said. “He’s all about the children. He knows each kid. He tries to make it fun for them.”
“He takes selfies with the kids on all the special days,” Bambi Patterson enthuses. “He’s just amazing!”
They are also organizing a fun run that will take place on Saturday, June 8 and end up at the Westmoreland Town Park where the Westmoreland Summer Activities Committee will be hosting its spring fund raiser to raise money to reopen the town pool.
But, while they cleaned up from Saturday’s Easter Egg hunt for the kids they were focusing in their next event where they would do it all over again on Friday, April 26, but with a bit of a twist.
Group member Ashley Pace has been involved for three years, ever since her daughter, who is a second-grader, entered Kindergarten. She says, “Our next event is going to be a bit ‘out-of-the-box’.”
That event is an adult night out glow-in-the-dark Easter Egg hunt that will be held on Friday, April 26th at 7pm at the Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department. There will be food, a DJ, and a bonfire. It’s a 21 or older event so there will be a cash bar run by Seymour’s Diner. Tickets are $15 per person, or $20 per couple.
“It’s a nice chance for adults to get out and have fun.” Pace says.
There will be an astounding 2000 glow-in-the-dark eggs scattered around the fireman’s fields. They will be stuffed with candy, scratch-off lottery tickets, and there will also be chances to win bottles of wine and liquor, and gift cards to local business and restaurants. Plus, a 50/50 raffle, some instant prizes, and some larger prizes.
“We’re really looking forward to this new event for the adults of the community,” Megan Otis says. “Usually we do things for the kids, so this will be an opportunity for the adults to enjoy something and support a great cause.”
The group has a Facebook page you can easily find by typing “Westmoreland PTO” into the search bar. They also have a specific event page set up for the “Glow in the Dark Adult Egg Hunt.” They are always looking for volunteers and are happy to answer any questions prospective members might have. You can call Amy Bowen at 315-269-3161, and Bambi Patterson at 315-527-0515.
“I have been wanting to do an event like this for six years. I’m really excited about bringing the community together and hanging out,” Patterson said of the upcoming adult egg hunt.
“For such a small town, Westmoreland has a lot of great stuff going on,” Bowen pointed out.
“Will the Easter bunny be at the adult egg hunt?’ I asked.
“Absolutely!” Bowen and Patterson said in unison.
Jessica DeArmond glanced over at her boyfriend, Chris who was folding up the hot, heavy costume he had been wearing for the past few hours.
“We’ll wait until it gets closer to the 26th to let the bunny know he’s coming,” she laughed.
Ron Klopfanstein welcomes your questions, comments, and story ideas. Like him at Facebook.com/BeMoreWestmo and Follow him Twitter.com/BeMoreWestmo