Volunteers help community to thrive

Einstein said that not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.

Einstein said that not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.

One of those intangibles in every community, and certainly here in Summerland, are the amazing volunteers here.

Sometimes the effects of their efforts can be very evident, such as the work that the Summerland Rotary group has done to create the new Sunday market.

In fact, when I turn to the Calendar of Events in the 2015 Visitors Guide, I count almost 30 events that are wholly or partially dependent on volunteers for their success.

Others times, volunteers are active in our community in a quieter way such as operating the Food Bank, participating in special library programs, weeding the Ornamental Gardens, creating museum and art gallery displays and programs or participating on one of the Committees of Council.

Economic pundits sometimes try to assign a value to volunteer efforts with a basic hours multiplied by wage equation. But this is too simplistic. In our most recent video launched in February, called, Our Connected Community, we talked about supporting the local organizations and events that bring vitality and meaning to our communities.

Vitality and meaning can’t be quantified in dollars and cents but that’s the real power that volunteers both bring to our community and take away in what they gain from having contributed their time.

Visitors notice this aspect of our community as well, and the Chamber talks about our culture of volunteerism in economic development videos and publications because we know this attracts more residents to our community.

At the Granfondo Aid Station in Summerland, early in the morning of July 12, more than 2,000 bike riders swept through town, many of them stopping to chat for a moment with us and grab a drink, a treat, some help with their bike or first aid.

Between the aid station and traffic control, there were more than 30 Summerland volunteers.

Most of the riders expressed thanks to the volunteers for coming out. In the coming months, please take a moment to thank a local volunteer that you may encounter. And if you’re one of those remarkable volunteers, we thank you for contributing to the vitality of Summerland.

It couldn’t happen without your support.

We always appreciate your feedback. Please contact me at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com or chamber president, Kelly Marshall, at president@summerlandchamber.com .

Christine Petkau is the executive director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.