Special to the Atlantic Tides
Imagine just for a minute Canada with out, Lions, Kiwanis, Optimists, Rotary Club, Kinettes and Kinsmen, Knights Of Columbus, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the numerous other volunteer service clubs across our nation. Volunteers are the most important resource community organizations have. The ability of people to work willingly together for the betterment of their community and themselves. In my mind, without these dedicated individuals our communities would fall apart.
I would like to express my thoughts on why volunteering can be beneficial to the giver and the receiver. Volunteers provide a powerful, economical and social benefit to communities across our nation. In 2010, volunteers across Canada provided 1.3 million hours volunteering in their communities. Last year Kin Canada reported, that Kinettes and Kinsmen across Canada provide 516,292 community service hours.
So, what is a volunteer? What is the value of volunteering? Is volunteering about money? Should we measure it that way? Most people would say no. Volunteering is not about money. Volunteering is about giving, contributing, and helping other individuals and the community at large. It is working with dedicated others to make a meaningful contribution to a better community.
I believe the best way to describe a volunteer is three fold, a volunteer is; someone who cares, someone who wants to be involved and lastly, someone who wants to give back.
Through out my life I have volunteered; as a teacher, teaching Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation to teenagers and adults alike, instructed children the skill of Cross Country Skiing, and volunteered for the South Shore Lumberjacks, to mention a few. The satisfaction is the adult student who saved a 4 year old boy, who was in Cardiac Arrest and was revived to life a normal life or the young children who develop Cross County Skiing skills eventually make the Junior National team.
This past week, the World Sledge Hockey Challenge was held in Bridgewater. Other than the fantastic hockey being displayed by these athletes, I could not help but notice the numerous dedicated volunteers throughout the L.C.L.C. To quote Counsellor Wayne Thorburne “Volunteering at the L.C.L.C. with 112 passionate volunteers to host the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge has proven we have the ability to host world class events in Lunenburg County. I am proud and humbled by the community spirit and given the opportunity to volunteer, I would do it again in a heart beat.”
As a volunteer, I can confidently say, volunteering has positively effected changed in my life in many ways. I have acquired skills and knowledge, such a management skills, communication skills, teaching skills, listening skills and knowledge of current social or political issues, and has contributed to improved well-being which has help me through out my career.
Ultimately, volunteering has got me out of the house, has expanded my horizons and has challenged me to met new people. As Kinsmen, volunteering builds up our personal skills, self confidence, develops our organizational skills and creates a team atmosphere. As members from diverse backgrounds, volunteering brings us together to work on a common project or objective.
Research has suggested that volunteerism, is bringing together persons from all walks of life to work on common projects which contributes to a sense of belonging in the communities. Volunteers strengthen our community by “Serving The Community’s Greatest Need” which allows us to stay connected with-in Bridgewater and Municipality Of Luneburg County. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose, benefits our health, allows us to be an active member in the community and finally creates a meaningful contribution to a better community.
Finally, in closing, here’s one more way to visualize the impact of volunteers. Fellow Kin imagine if one day, all volunteers simply didn’t show up.
What would our cities, towns, provincial parks, schools, places of worship, and libraries look like? What basic needs would go unmet? What opportunities to grow, learn, and thrive as a society would be lost?
To quote the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau; “One measure of the spirit of a country is the service it’s citizens give voluntarily for the welfare of others”
-Palma Champoux is a member of the Bridgewater Kinsmen. Originally from St. Catharines, Ontario, Palma had 35 professional years in the Paramedic Field started. He retired in 2008 as Director of Paramedics and along with his wife Susan, moved to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia to be with family. He has been in Kin for two years and currently holds the position of Secretary/Editor. To Palma, Kin are a diverse group of dedicated volunteers whose goal it is to make a difference with-in our community.