County Commissioners launch America250 Celebration planning01/31/2022 09:33PM ● By Steven Hoffman
In preparation for the
250th birthday of the United States in 2026, the Chester County Commissioners recently announced that they are seeking volunteer members to apply for
membership in the America250PA Chester
County Commission, in conjunction with the formation of the U.S.
Semiquincentennial Commission, whose mission is to encourage Americans to
remember its past, celebrate its present and imagine a promising future for the nation.
Over the next several years, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission will partner with public and private entities across the nation in a sharing of ideas, expertise, relationships and resources to address a series of 14 national platforms:
· Share250: Capturing America’s shared stories, folklife, and cultural heritage.
· Exchange250: Fostering unity and understanding through shared discourse, dialogue, and diplomacy.
· Experience250: Orchestrating grassroots and signature celebratory and commemorative events.
· Discover250: Enriching history education, civic engagement, and lifelong learning.
· Explore250: Promoting visitation to America’s cultural spaces, historic landmarks, and natural landscapes.
· Showcase250: Initiatives delivering semiquincentennial themed showcases, exhibits, and collections to communities across the world.
· Recognize250: Revealing the good we do for one another and for the country.
· Salute250: Honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans.
· Promise250: Empowering youth and inspiring the next generation of American leaders.
· Create250: Inspiring artistic expressions of the American spirit.
· Impact250: Bettering our communities, nation, and environment.
· Innovate250: Amplifying American innovation and discovery.
· Nourish250: Cultivating and revitalizing America’s culinary and agricultural traditions.
· Play250: Championing games, sports, and recreational pastimes.
The America250PA Chester County Commission is looking for 10 to 30 county residents. Commission members will serve for up to three years, and a chair and vice-chair will also be designated.
“Our plan is to formally appoint members to the commission in March, and we are looking for representatives of all ages and from all areas of the county,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “Beyond those appointments, there will be other organizing opportunities for volunteers to get involved. This will be a special time for all of us, and we expect there to be a lot of interest in participating.”
Chester County Planning Commission Executive Director Brian O’Leary said planning begins now because it takes a long time to produce ideas and coordinate events this elaborate, particularly with a variety of partners involved, and added that the celebration will cover closer to 300 years of Chester County history.
“There are lots of elements of our history that need to be emphasized, whether it’s the iron and steel heritage that we have here or the abolitionists and Underground Railroad movement,” O’Leary said.
Chester County is coordinating its activities with the state-wide group, America250PA. Two representatives from that organization, Marissa Gioffre and Jaclyn Victor, joined a recent Commissioners’ public meeting virtually to discuss similar celebration planning across the Commonwealth.
Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, who represents the county on the America250PA County Advisory Committee and is a board member of the Chester County History Center, said the local commission will balance county events with participation in state-wide activities.
“In the short term, the commission will determine where Chester County wants to plant a liberty tree, part of Pennsylvania’s Liberty Tree program, in May,” Kichline said. “Similarly, they will chart our approach to the Bells Across PA program. Those are more symbolic activities. The commission will then have input into a historic heritage tourism plan. I am excited to see the kinds of ideas committee members come up with.”
In its commemoration events to mark the nation’s 250th birthday, the county will hold its events throughout the entire county, especially at heritage tourism sites where guest speakers will share the history of the county.
The commission will meet quarterly and may branch out to form subcommittees and engage in special programs, events, educational projects or fundraising activities. The Commissioners said the public’s involvement in planning activities will be key to the success of Chester County’s commemoration. The commission will also collaborate directly with stakeholder institutions and municipalities.
Those wishing to apply to join the America 250PA Chester County Commission should do so over the next four weeks. To access the application and to obtain additional information, visit www.chesco.org/America250.
To learn more about America250, visit www.america250.org.