It takes dozens of volunteers thousands of hours of their time to bring every WRAPS theatre performance to life. Now imagine a world where those volunteers — and all the others who give of their time to make our communities better and more fun — simply said ‘Forget it’ and walked away. (pictured) Cast and crew of the WRAPS production of <em>Arsenic and Old Lace</em>, 2016. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)

It takes dozens of volunteers thousands of hours of their time to bring every WRAPS theatre performance to life. Now imagine a world where those volunteers — and all the others who give of their time to make our communities better and more fun — simply said ‘Forget it’ and walked away. (pictured) Cast and crew of the WRAPS production of Arsenic and Old Lace, 2016. (Photo credit: Journal files)

The Editor’s Desk: Get up and help out

Instead of complaining about local volunteers, try giving them a hand

Imagine, if you will, a world where there are no volunteers.

We aren’t there yet, but community and service groups and organizations everywhere are reporting that even as things open up following two years of pandemic restrictions, which led to the cancellation of many events, they are now grappling with a lack of volunteers to ensure those events can carry on.

More and more we’re hearing of groups that are once again able to meet and plan their customary events, only to find that during two years of no meetings and no events many of their usual volunteers have moved away, or aged out, or are otherwise unavailable for a wide variety of reasons. It’s left some organizations scrambling to find enough volunteers, while the ones who are left have to do even more than before, which will inevitably lead to some of them burning out and saying “Enough.”

In our area, that world without volunteers would mean no Desert Daze, fall fair, Graffiti Days, or May Ball and Rodeo. There would be no markets, no music in the park concerts, no Canada Day celebrations. The Equality Project and Soup’s On would close. Everything that the Spences Bridge Community Club or the Communities in Bloom organizations do would stop, as would everything that the Lions, Rotary, and Royal Purple do (so no Citizens of the Year, or food trucks at local events, or Bingo nights).

The annual art shows in Ashcroft and Clinton? Gone. WRAPS theatre productions? A thing of the past. Sage Sound Singers concerts? Vanished. And don’t even think about sports: South Cariboo Minor Soccer, the Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey Association, Cache Creek Softball, Cache Creek club basketball, and many other sports and rcreation groups are all run by volunteers.

What’s particularly frustrating is that even as the organizers of all these things (and much, much more) struggle to provide them for our communities, more and more people seem content to sit back and gripe. My own tipping point came last week, amid the discussion about the fact that the Clinton Rodeo Parade committee was told that they were unable to route the parade down the highway, as has been the custom for decades. You see, permission to close down a highway has to come from the Ministry of Transportation, and this year the ministry said “No,” forcing the committee to come up with another route.

I know that the committee a) applied for the permit well in advance of the parade date and b) argued against the refusal, but to no avail. However, a commenter on Facebook weighed in by stating that they had heard that the parade had to be re-routed because “someone” had “forgotten” to apply for a permit.

When I read that, I saw red. I know Facebook is not necessarily a bastion of fact, but it annoys me when people throw stuff like this out there without bothering to see how accurate it is first. Far easier to make misinformed comments than do some basic fact-checking, I guess.

What really annoyed me was the casual aspersion against a dedicated group of volunteers who work damn hard to provide a fun event for the residents of Clinton and beyond. As always, when I see comments like this — which are, sadly, all too common — I wonder to myself if the person making the comment has ever lifted a finger to volunteer at anything to make their community a better place.

I suspect not, as it’s far easier to sit at a keyboard and make baseless negative comments, or complain, than it is to actually get up off the chair and do something constructive. So to all the keyboard warriors out there who are concerned enough about all these wonderful events in our communities to criticize the organizers, a challenge: get out there and help, if you want to see them continue.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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