Editorial – Volunteer power

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National Volunteer Week runs from April 15-21, and it’s the ideal time to say thank you to all the volunteers who keep our community running.

Not only do Salt Spring Island’s dozens of non-profit groups operate primarily on volunteer power, but many of our governance committees do as well. Trustees on the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District receive no remuneration, despite the high degree of responsibility and time required to sit on the fire board. Members of the Islands Trust’s and Capital Regional District’s various advisory commissions are also not paid for their time and expertise.

As they have done for the past few years, Salt Spring’s Volunteer and Community Resources group is marking National Volunteer Week with the It’s Coffee Time program. It sees VCR supply organizations with vouchers for a free coffee that can be redeemed at 15 participating outlets. Those vouchers are then given to the group’s volunteers. 

VCR administrator Janine Fernandes-Hayden said VCR distributed some 2,300 vouchers to 56 different groups last week.

Expressing appreciation to volunteers can be a tricky task. For many, the work they do is reward enough, and accolades are not expected. For others, receiving a sense of appreciation is vital, especially in challenging situations. Finding ways to thank volunteers for their efforts is a critical part of running an organization that relies on unpaid labour, something VCR understands.

National Volunteer Week is also a good time to express appreciation to VCR. The small but mighty group runs occasional workshops for non-profits, an online volunteer job hub for local opportunities, special events like last year’s Canada 150 challenge and exhibit at the library, and provides support and mentorship for non-profit organizations.

We salute both the thousands of island volunteers and VCR for ensuring social programs, cultural, educational and recreational activities and local governance run as smoothly as possible on Salt Spring.

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