WORTHINGTON - The Lake Okabena Improvement Association is rounding up volunteers for this year’s annual cleanup.

Association members and other volunteers will be meeting at 6 p.m. May 20 at Centennial Park by Beach Nook II. From there, location assignments will be handed out and the cleanup will begin.

Jason Vote, the association president, said that the mission of the association is to improve the lake’s recreational function and beauty, therefore making it a focal point for the town of Worthington.

“We want to be purposeful and positive for the community,” said Genny Turner, the association’s vice president. “We do things that are benefiting the lake, the quality of the lake and the aesthetics of the lake.”

The group formed 10 years ago when six couples decided that there needed to be a voice for the lake.

The association is a nonprofit that works closely with the city of Worthington, the DNR and the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District.

Vote hopes to increase participation this year not only with the cleanup but also in association membership.

“If you drive around, walk around, run around, bike around or just enjoy looking at the lake, you should be a member,” Vote said. “It isn’t just for the home owners. It is for anybody who enjoys the lake.”

Turner expressed the need for the lake association and for its yearly spring cleanup.

“While people are enjoying our lake, the last thing we want people to see is garbage,” Turner said. “We want to send the message that we care about our lake. It’s the largest amenity that Worthington offers. The lake is two-thirds public, and I think that sometimes people feel that it is more private than it actually is. We should all be trying to keep it clean.”

Turner went on to say that each year after the group’s cleanup they weight the garbage and other debris collected and it usually weighs approximately 4,000 pounds.

“We are hoping for a beautiful day,” Vote said. “It’s for all ages, and it is a great family activity.”

Anyone interested in helping with this year’s cleanup can simply show up at Centennial Park at 6 p.m. May 20. Vote suggested bringing a pair of gloves.