Site Captains Make Chicago River Day Happen

Co-site captains Andy and Tom Mitchell (dressed in pink) with Chicago River Day volunteers at Canal Origins Park in Chicago.

To share the fun of Chicago River Day and help other volunteers make the most of their experience, father and son Tony and Andy Mitchell are teaming up for another year as co-site captains. Volunteer site captains play an important leadership role to organize and inspire volunteers, essential to making Friends’ largest annual event a success.

Excited to explore the river and get to know the people who volunteer, Tony and Andy have served as site captains at different locations all along river system. Together they captained sites at the North Avenue Turning Basin, Lathrop Homes, Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park adjacent to the North Shore Channel, and Canal Origins Park alongside Bubbly Creek in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. 2022 is their fifth year as co-site captains.

“We’re longtime volunteers going back to 2003 and we became site captains to get the even more enjoyment out of the day,” said Andy Mitchell. “Volunteers are excited to help so we guide them through the experience. We make a site visit the day before so we have a good sense of where volunteers can be of most use. It’s rewarding work for everyone involved, and my dad and I have a good system in place that makes it an easy-lift and a lot of fun.”

This year Friends rolls up our collective sleeves for the 30th Annual Chicago River Day on May 14, at over 60 locations from Lake County to southern Cook County, continuing Friends’ commitment to come together to make a litter free river system. Save the date and stay tuned in the coming weeks for site locations and details.

“We truly appreciate volunteers like Tony and Andy who embrace the leadership role of captains on Chicago River Day,” said Friends’ Volunteer, Events, and Canoe Program Manager Annette Anderson. “Their support picking up supplies, leading the cleanup, and reporting about their day is critical to organizing a successful event.”

If you are interested in helping as a captain, check out this one-page guide to learn more about the roles and responsibilities. First-year site captains can be paired with veterans who can show new volunteers the ropes. All captains will come together for training, tips and encouragement in March. Fill out our online form to let us know you are interested and receive more information.