My View
Let’s work together to keep America beautiful...
by Gary Chamberlain
Jun 05, 2014 | 1693 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What would happen if every city manager and mayor across America encouraged their community leaders, businesses and citizens to work with their local state Adopt-A-Highway groups and pick up highway litter on four specific and reoccurring dates?

If these community leaders selected the third weekend of February, May, August and November and routinely promoted this effort through their local media, could we as one nation, consisting of 50 states, make a difference in restoring the true beauty to “America the Beautiful”?

If these community leaders would invite all Adopt-A-Highway groups to their city council meeting at the end of each year and thank each group by name for their efforts, this would be a great way to show appreciation for those that make America beautiful.

A few years ago when I was in Moab I met Sara Melnicoff, founder of Moab Solutions. Sara and Moab Solutions are assets to her community in many ways. Like those of you who live in Moab, I live near several tourist destinations in Northern Arizona’s “Verde Valley” which includes Cornville, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Sedona, Jerome and Clarkdale. Highway trash is not the sight that attracts tourists and it cripples our economies and community image.

I’m working to start a nationwide movement towards achieving a program called “America the Beautiful & BagReadyJobs.” This will provide every person in America a chance to participate in some capacity.

As proud Americans, will we honor our Armed Forces, veterans and communities by participating in the “America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” effort?

The program will be used as a teaching, learning and earning opportunity for our nation’s youth groups. “BagReadyJobs” is funded by community businesses and residents.

Youth groups will learn how to develop marketing, sales, service and billing skills for their services rendered. Youth groups will negotiate fees with their local businesses and residents for picking up the litter on the highway and filling 33 gallon bags. The youth groups will work with their local Adopt-a-Highway groups and assist them in their efforts to restore the beauty to “America the Beautiful”.

The businesses and residents that pledge funding or products to youth groups will negotiate a fee between $7 and 10 for every 33 gallon bag of trash the youth group fills to the brim.

The nation’s official Adopt-A-Highway group leaders will document the participation of the youth groups and the number of bags they fill. The youth groups will provide a copy of the Adopt-A-Highway group leader’s confirmation of their participation and the number of bags they filled to their funding sponsors.

In addition to displaying the trash-filled bags on the highway for four days as part of creating an awareness, education and recognition opportunity, the youth groups are required to write an essay that addresses five questions. The youth groups are to provide a copy of their essays to those funding their activities and to their local news media organizations.

The essay questions are:

• What did you learn?

• What solutions might reverse the occurrence of highway litter and recycling efforts?

• How does highway litter impact the economy of your community?

• In addition to the negative economic effects, how does highway litter reflect on the residents?

• What will you do to do to make a difference?

Those providing funding will pay the youth groups for their services once all of the obligations have been fulfilled.

“America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” litter events are being promoted nationwide on the third Saturday of February, May, August and November, however, many Adopt-A-Highway groups select random dates for their cleanup activities. Our goal is to connect America’s Adopt-A-Highway groups needing help with youth groups wanting to help. Folksville USA would like to receive copies of the essays written so we may share them with others.

“America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” is the perfect opportunity for city and town leaders to challenge their community businesses and residents to support local youth groups that want to earn their funding. These young adults are our future role models and leaders. Recycling activities and getting some exercise are additional benefits that can be realized through this effort.

If a community could invest eight to 12 hours per year participating in this effort and spreading our success nationwide through social media, this effort could be a frugal method to promote our community and community pride.

Gary Chamberlain is the founder of Folksville USA in Cornville, Ariz., an organization dedicated to challenging and inspiring communities across the country to build efforts to keep America’s roadways free of litter. For more information email him at:

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