BEMUS POINT - Everybody's got a story - and the Bemus Point Library wants to hear yours.
On Thursday, the Bemus Point Library will host the first meeting of its Heart and Soul Project, an oral history project and traveling exhibit that explores the history, culture and identity of the Bemus Point community.
"Truly, it's a project to bring people in the community together in whatever way we can," said Kathleen McCarthy, Bemus Point Library manager. "We're looking for people of all ages to come together to tell their stories. It's not exactly an oral history - it's more of a story-telling project. We want to hear people's stories concerning Bemus Point, whether it's tragic, funny, or exciting, but mostly stories that truly mean something to the people who are telling them."
Kathleen McCarthy, Bemus Point librarian, is pictured in the library.
McCarthy said the project isn't limited to summer stories in Bemus Point, either. She acknowledged that, though the tourists usually only visit Bemus Point in the summer, there may be snowplow drivers or ice fishermen who have a unique or fascinating story about something that happened in Bemus Point in the winter.
"The point of the project is to obtain a true people's history of Bemus Point," said McCarthy. "Obviously there is more going on here in the summer, but there is still plenty that happens here in the winter and it would be a mistake to leave that out."
The initial kickoff meeting for the Heart and Soul Project is set to take place at the Lawson Boating Heritage Center at 6:30 p.m. According to McCarthy, there are many ways interested individuals can contribute to the project, even if they are camera shy or feel they don't have any notable stories to contribute.
"What we're looking to do is to find people who are willing to be audio and video recorders to learn how to do that, as well as tell their stories," said McCarthy. "We're planning to make (Thursday) a really fun event, but also a way to bring people together."
McCarthy said in addition to the volunteers who will show up on Thursday, Maple Grove High School is allowing students who must perform community service as a requirement for a class to count their participation in the Heart and Soul Project towards that quota.
For all those who wish to attend, the Lawson Boating Heritage Center is located at 73 Lakeside Dr. in Bemus Point. Refreshments will be served and music will be provided by Doc and Bill. For those who are interested in contributing but cannot attend the meeting, or have any other questions about the project, the Bemus Point Library is available at 386-2274 for more information.
"We simply hope that anyone that can contribute to this project decides to do so," said McCarthy. "It's a great opportunity to be a part of something we can collectively be proud of."
Bemus Point Heart and Soul is funded by a grant from the Chautauqua County United Arts Appeal, community donations and other sources.