Six Flags employees donate time, talents during community service day

Travis Pera of Six Flags Magic Mountain's finance department paints a playset at Carousel Ranch on Nov. 3, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal
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Six Flags Magic Mountain employees stepped out of the theme park and into the community for their annual Project 6 service day on Friday.

About 200 full-time employees headed to Carousel Ranch, which provides equestrian therapy for children with disabilities, to tackle over a dozen projects, including painting, landscaping, maintenance and office work.

“We really enjoy getting into the community together as a team,” Six Flags Spokesperson Sue Carpenter said.

The service day happens each November in the time right after the park’s Fright Fest and before Holiday in the Park.

The Magic Mountain park, alongside all other Six Flags parks worldwide, is closed to visitors while the employees take the full day to give back.

A Six Flags Magic Mountain employee cuts wood at Carousel Ranch as part of Project 6 on Nov. 3, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

With only five full-time staff members and 15 part-time, Carousel Ranch does not have the resources to keep up on all needed maintenance, the nonprofit’s Executive Director Denise Redmond said.

The ranch hosts about 100 kids a week, so if staff members have to choose between spending time with the children and keeping up on projects, they choose the children every time, she said.

“The things the volunteers are doing fall to the wayside because we don’t have the time or the manpower,” Redmond said. “The list is endless.”

Between clearing the drainage systems, building garden bed covers and doing in-depth cleaning, Redmond estimates the Six Flags crew accomplished tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of labor.

“That is the magnitude,” she said. “We are so grateful.”

Scott McClellan, finance director for Six Flags Magic Mountain, paints a playset at Carousel Ranch on Nov. 3, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

Six Flags teams have gone to other nonprofits in the Santa Clarita Valley, but have chosen to come back Carousel Ranch multiple times.

Director of Marketing and Sales Debbie Ericson recalls a service day years ago when Carousel Ranch had just moved into their property and the Six Flags staff had a lot of work to do.

Now, there are even more projects to accomplish because the ranch has grown so much since then.

Spending the day painting and being around horses was therapeutic for Ericson and provided the group the opportunity to use their strengths.

“On a normal day, we’re off doing what we’re paid to do,” Ericson said. “It’s really cool to see people use their talents.”

A Six Flags Magic Mountain employee paints a wooden sign at Carousel Ranch as part of Project 6 on Nov. 3, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

Some staff members showed off the skills they utilize every day on the job during the service project.

Sign painter of 28 years Paul Girard worked to repaint all of Carousel Ranch’s signs. In the park, much of Girard’s job is on done on a computer nowadays, so he said it was refreshing to go back to the basics and get his hands covered in paint.

“This is a fun chance to wake up some of the old skills,” he said.

The volunteer opportunity also allowed other employees to do something completely different from their day job.

Bilkeyshia Jester serves as the park’s finance supervisor and spent the day cleaning and sanding gates.

She enjoyed the opportunity to be outside and get to know people from other departments that she would not normally get the chance to see.

“I feel really warm hearted and I am glad I can give back,” Jester said.

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