Volunteers: the heart and soul of every community

Every needs fresh faces and fresh ideas and volunteers to fill the gaps

South Cariboo Search and Rescue volunteers are there when they're needed in emergencies.

South Cariboo Search and Rescue volunteers are there when they're needed in emergencies.

From community associations to minor sport organizations, volunteers make valuable contributions to any organization and to their community.

Membership is dwindling for some local non-profit groups either.

For the most part, this is because members have put years into an organization, or their age demands they slow down their outside activities. Unfortunately, new people are not joining the organizations to fill the gaps.

There are various reasons to get involved: to learn something about yourself; to have fun; passionate about a cause; explore career possibilities; get off the couch; learn new skills; feel good about yourself; help someone; and more.

Some volunteers shared their thoughts on volunteering; the following are excerpts of their comments.


James Seeley

Search and Rescue

“We, at South Cariboo Search and Rescue (SAR) have been lucky to attract and keep a decent number of volunteers involved for the past 10 years.

“It seems there is always a change of personnel as some members move, change jobs and the like, but we manage to keep new members coming in. We are completely dependent on volunteers, no one gets paid to do any of the things we do. The training and response to SAR incidents is demanding and challenging, but most members would agree it is all very rewarding.

“From a personal perspective, I think there are many benefits – the sense of community aid and help one provides in times of crisis. The knowledge and training one receives helps in personal growth; there is a deep feeling of camaraderie with in the SAR community province-wide.

“The selective reward is the feeling you get from being involved and being of help in a time of urgent need. It’s feeling good about working with a dedicated team of people accomplishing difficult objectives.”


Tom Bachynski

Communities in Bloom

“The volunteer base in 100 mile is no different than any place else in North America. It’s hard to get volunteers.

“Our private time is eroding due to the number of after-school activities parents seem compelled to enroll children in, and when it compounds with volunteering, the time drifts away.

“Volunteering is setting a regime of ‘I’ll be available on specific times and dates and places,’ and not necessarily conducive to our on-demand lifestyles we have migrated to.

“The next and most devastating component is political: when one agrees to volunteer and has a personal agenda to bring a particular point of view or direction. The purist volunteer will commonly drift quietly away rather than confront such views.

“I have been involved in many start up organizations that rely on volunteers and have no history of alternate agendas.

“If I could urge people to volunteer, it would be that you do so with the intention of helping one thing, the group you volunteer with and follow in the direction chosen. It’s rewarding and fulfilling.”


Jennifer Appleby

Minor Soccer

“There’s a lack of new people volunteering for various organizations within the community. We see the same people coming out for events and volunteering their time, and we often run the risk of burning out those volunteers.

“Non-profits need to recruit fresh volunteers, and have a succession plan in place for the organization to continue.

“People forget what it takes to run community/non-profit/sports groups, and simply expect them to run and provide programs in the community. Perhaps the assumption is volunteering will take up too much time or be difficult, which is not necessarily the case.

“Our volunteers keep our entire program going; our only paid employee is our administrator, and she’s part time. Simply put, soccer in the South Cariboo wouldn’t exist without volunteers.

“Volunteering can be a rewarding experience with any group, especially if you have a connection to it, whether it’s something for your kids or something you’re passionate about. It’s a way to meet new people and help out in the community in a positive manner.”


Lori Fry

Canadian Council of the Blind

“Volunteers contribute to their own inner peace and self-satisfaction through personal growth, while along the way recruiting much new knowledge.

“The benefits come to the volunteer when the results of their efforts are perceived worthwhile. Just knowing that somehow you may have made a difference in society and making the world a better place.

“It has been said one of the proven benefits of volunteering is it contributes to longevity. It’s a little ironic if you look at it – live longer by working harder. Perhaps, it’s just a reward from a higher power.

“Despite the endless requests for fundraising, the South Cariboo is a very giving community – helping to build, buy, provide, create, give and support all causes and it takes many volunteers along with other support to make it happen.

“It is vital in the cycle of life to breed new volunteers, and to recruit new leaders to replace those who must move on. The youth of today have so much potential in using technology to simplify many tasks that may assist in salvaging the heritage of a volunteer.”


Tracey Fetters

2887 Cadets

“I began volunteering with the 2887 RMR RCACC (Army Cadets) when my children were in the Cadet program. I continued volunteering because I enjoy it so much. My children have left the organization and moved on with their individual lives leaving myself “an empty nester.”

“I personally like to keep busy and without any children at home, there is sometimes too much time on my hands. Working with the Army Cadets keeps me busy.

“There certainly are not enough volunteers even within the Cadet program. This could be because families have both parents working full time and are perhaps already volunteering with another activity.

“Two of the concerns I have heard about parents volunteering is they don’t want to be doing a lot of fundraising and they also don’t want to get swamped with doing too many things.

“I think it would be important for parents to realize that many activities any organization does, will indeed require some help. This help could be from supplying one item to organizing the whole event or activity – all depending on your time you have available.

“The old saying of “many hands make light work” is so very applicable. I have found volunteering to be very rewarding and very fulfilling.”


Mark Waldron

“I can’t say enough about the benefits. It’s not always convenient, but I’ve never regretted it.

“The training provided by Hospice through regular workshops is invaluable. It is very complete and you do it prior to working with clients, and then we attend yearly upgrading.

“It’s ongoing learning as well as doing something that is very worthwhile.

“Most of the work with Hospice has to do with an individual’s comfort level says Waldron, adding that he finds working with the clients very rewarding, on various levels.

“Some people are not comfortable with the clients, but enjoy the fundraising, or the organization [part of it]. I’ll do anything to avoid paperwork.

“Working with the clients cuts through all the ‘stuff’ in this world and get to the reality. I just have to be there for them and listen.

“Would I recommend volunteering for Hospice? Absolutely.”

100 Mile House Free Press