Boise Mayor Dave Bieter wasn’t necessarily surprised by the turnout he saw Saturday morning at Williams Park for the first-ever Boise Kind Day. But the smile and laughter he displayed when seeing the dozens of volunteers on hand were a reassurance that the day would be a success.
“We’re just so pleased,” Bieter said. “It’s the first time we’ve done this. We’ve got maybe 600, 700 people around town. We hoped 200 or 300 would be a good number. But it looks like we’re going to double or more than double that.”
The day is what Boise’s all about, he said.
Saturday was the inaugural Boise Kind Day, the culmination of the first Boise Kind week. Boise Kind Day came from Bieter, who proposed the idea during his State of the City address in 2018. Boise Kind serves as “a community-wide initiative to define and spread the values that make Boise such a wonderful place to live,” according to the city’s website.
The idea for a celebration of kindness had been in the works for three or four years, Bieter said. While the initiative was partially grown within his office, he said he was approached by various community members in recent years who wanted to show off Boise’s spirit. He distinctly remembers a man who approached him during his weekend office hours.
“(The man said) ‘This isn’t going on everywhere, that this is not the way it is,’” Bieter said. “’People don’t let you into traffic and help each other, say hello, look out for your neighbors.’”
Throughout the week, organizations throughout the city took part in various service outings, including Boise State University. Student-athletes spent time at the Boys and Girls Club’s Moseley Center with children, playing sports and teaching the children about sportsmanship. The Idaho Foodbank also held a food drive throughout the week, and members of the community were able to go to various library locations and community centers to write notes of kindness.
The city organized a total of seven service projects for Saturday itself, including goathead cleanup, Greenbelt cleanup, park cleanup and service at the Boise Zoo.
Bieter said he is unsure of when Boise Kind will take place going forward, but that the third week in June seems like a solid choice given the relatively cool weather, the need for food from the Foodbank and the fact that school is out.
On Saturday, Bieter began his morning at Camel’s Back Park before making his way to Williams Park. He planned to stop by Zoo Boise afterward to meet up with his wife and daughter, he said.
“(Boise is) going to change in ways, but if we can keep that (kindness), and even make it better, and for my daughter and for her children, things are in good shape,” he said.