What if there were no volunteers?

All of the activities, festivals, sports leagues and other events that we enjoy would not be there if not for volunteers.

No Fall Fair. No Terry Fox Run. No Graffiti Days or Ashcroft Show and Shine. No Canada Day. No Easter Egg Hunt. No Wellness Festival. No Desert Daze. No River Festival. No soccer, no hockey. No pony club. No no no no no no…

No, wait. They’re all still with us, and more, thanks to all of the people in our communities who volunteer.

Normally I’d save my praise for volunteers for Volunteer Week or Day or Month, but the past few weekends have kept me hopping to keep up with all of the volunteer-organized activities in our towns.

I look around at these events and wonder why more people don’t take advantage of these professionally-run events that are offered for next to nothing, but I see different people at each event (and sometimes the same ones at all of them) and I realize that not everyone is interested in the same things. And too, small crowds are one of the reasons we like living in small towns.

What does it take to be a volunteer? A small bit of initiative to show up at a meeting or registration night and offer to help. You shouldn’t have to offer twice.

It can take as little or as much work as you want to put into it. One of the great things about volunteering is that it can teach you new skills, depending on the group. That makes it very useful for young people who are looking for their first job. The common complaint is that no one will hire you until you have job skills – which makes volunteering the perfect place to start. You can also use it for references.

More than that, it’s a great feeling to give something to your community. Listening to the BC Sport Community Heroes (p. 16) last week, it was clear that the one thing they all had in common was that they loved helping others achieve their goals.

Even if you volunteer for the purely selfish reason (NOT) of learning new skills or getting out of the house, it all gives back – and you get out of this life what you give.

Congratulations to the Fall Fair volunteers for another well done event, and to all present, past and future volunteers for all of your hard work. We wouldn’t have a community without you all.

Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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