As many of you know, the Chamber’s most recent activity was working with the community to plan and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Festival of Lights. All reports indicate that it was a fantastic evening with a record turn-out of almost 6000 visitors.
Many visitors commented on the strong community flavour of the evening and how many non-profit and service organizations were represented as vendors and activity providers on Main Street and Victoria.
Additionally, local businesses were out fundraising for worthy organizations and providing fun activities for visitors.
Right from Santa’s workshop at Summerland Credit Union all the way to Seasons Sparkles at the Art Gallery, all of these activities and organizations were staffed by volunteers.
At the Chamber we also had volunteers manning activities, on traffic control, helping with fireworks and stage security, surveying, managing electrical needs and technology, conducting the Santa procession, etc.
In all, hundreds of Summerlanders contributed their time to make the evening a success. Without the support of those volunteers, an event like Light-Up simply could not happen. Thank you everyone.
Volunteering is not just about organizing volunteers for large events, though.
It is hundreds of volunteers in minor league sports, working at the Summerland Food Bank, giving aid to seniors, helping out at the youth centre and school breakfast club, or cleaning up a local stream bed.
It is spontaneous acts of kindness like helping neighbours shovel their walks, coming to the aid of a stranded motorist or helping an elderly person cross a busy street.
These large and small acts, given freely, are what bind communities together. And here in Summerland the spirit of volunteerism is very strong.
People volunteer for many reasons. It’s a great way to gain experience and acquire new skills.
Others just want to give back to our community, help a friend or promote a worthwhile activity. They do it because it makes them feel good.
From a professional perspective, many people volunteer in order to meet new people and expand their network of contacts.
Volunteering is a great way to interact with people from all walks of life and in a semi-professional environment.
You’re working together to get something done, and you’re demonstrating many of the skills that you possess as a professional.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference in 2013, consider volunteering. There are hundreds of organizations in Summerland that would appreciate your help and your time. Organizations will benefit from your support and you’ll benefit too.
We always appreciate your feedback. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christine Petkau at email@example.com.
Arlene Fenrich is president of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism. All of the members of the board of directors serve as volunteers.