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Murray Journal

Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Woods! Kindly step this way for a good cause!

Oct 04, 2018 02:10PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Local high school students support the Exchange Club’s Haunted Woods event. (Photo Courtesy Sheri Van Bibber)

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

Every October ghosts and goblins emerge from the thickets within Murray Park to bring laughs, scares, and treats. The National Exchange Club of Murray will be hosting its annual Haunted Woods, Oct. 22-24. The Silly Trail, for the younger, don’t-want-to-be-scared crowd, runs from 6 to 6:30 p.m. The scary trail time begins at 6:30 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and the trail starts on the east side of the Murray Park Center parking lot.

Sheri Van Bibber of the Murray Exchange Club explained that the proceeds will go toward a good cause — the prevention of child abuse.  

“We have given donations to the Murray Victims’ Advocates, the Taylorsville Family Center, The Road Home/Youth Homeless shelter, the Utah Co-Op, Salt Lake County ShelterKids Program, KidsEat, Boys & Girls Club, Salt Lake Emergency Fund, YWCA, South Valley Shelter and Prevention of Child Abuse Utah, just to name a few. The Taylorsville, West Jordan, and Salt Lake Bonneville Exchange Clubs will be joining in this year to make it an even bigger and better event.” 

The Club will be selling hot dogs, chips and drinks. According to Van Bibber, “We will have faster trails and get the line through quicker and have entertainment.” Helping this year will be youth Exchange Clubs from Skyline, American Prep, AISU, and Murray high schools.

The National Exchange Club is a service organization exclusively serving communities in the United States. Along with Murray’s, there are more than 650 local clubs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico to provide individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and the country as a whole. 

“There is such a satisfaction in teaching our youth about the flag, how to retire the flag, Americanism and involving our youth in service. We have our Murray youth Excel Club for ninth to 12th grade that works alongside us, and we do a lot of family projects where the whole family can be involved, such as planting the pinwheel garden in front of city hall, and educating citizens about preventing child abuse, and we have programs that help and support those with needs in that direction. We love to honor our citizens, our youth and those who protect us every day. We welcome new members,” declared Van Bibber.

Murray’s Exchange Club has been around since 2001. Van Bibber noted, “We celebrate and award our police and fire departments and those who fly the flag and promote Americanism in our city. Those who give service we honor with our Citizenship Award. We give scholarships to youth who are turning their lives around (The ACE Award). And, we kick off the (Murray Independence Day) parade every year by giving out over 12,000 flags. We help paint houses, clean up seniors’ homes or yards, help families in need at Christmas, and work with other clubs around the valley with service where it is needed.”

She said that for the kids, the Haunted Woods is just about having fun. “Even the high school kids helping out have fun and participate in the community in a variety of projects. The Excel youth have run their own blood drives and worked with Relay for Life. We had a barbecue for the Night Out Against Crime with the police department. We work on ‘getting out the vote’ for everyone, especially youth. We ran the Murray Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament. Our youth spent every Monday volunteering at the Red Cross and doing internships.”

The Exchange Club is currently looking for speakers and new members. The club meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month, 7:30–8:30 a.m. at Murray City Hall. Their meetings are open to both members and those wanting to be involved. The Exchange Club is also looking for youth in ninth–12th grade for the Murray Youth Excel Club. For more information, contact Sheri Van Bibber at (801) 808-0830.