BY VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Do you like a challenge? Volunteer and Community Resources has one for you.
We’re launching a campaign, running from Feb. 1 to July 1, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. It’s called the Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge.
With so many generous volunteers on our island giving of their time and talents in so many ways, it should be easy. Here it is:
Can you give 150 volunteer hours to Salt Spring Island before July 1, 2017? Why between Feb. 1 and July 1? Because it’s exactly 150 days, of course!
We all know it’s nice to have a reward at the end of a challenge. We’re working on some surprises. While we do our work, here’s yours:
• Keep track of the number of hours you volunteer to July 1. (Psst…we’ll let you backdate to Jan. 1, 2017). There are different ways to track. Register via Volinspire, a national online and mobile platform that has been set up at: https://volinspire.com/signup/canada150. (Please follow the registration instructions located on our website at www.vcrsaltspring.org.)
• Keep track through already established systems where you volunteer. (Ask your volunteer coordinator).
• Keep track yourself! How could we not trust a volunteer?
• Track all volunteer hours, formal or informal, big or small, however you give of your time to make our community better for others.
• Don’t underestimate the hours you contribute . . . driving, phone calls, meetings, thinking . . . they all count!
• Submit your hours by June 23, 2017. (Don’t worry. You can log the hours planned for that last week.)
• Lead with your heart, give the best you can and have fun!
Need some help to get inspired? Here is a list of tips to get you started:
• Check out our website daily for examples of people just like you on Salt Spring Island who are volunteering and loving it . . . 150 days, 150 people, 150 organizations.
• Spur some healthy competition! Challenge neighbours, colleagues, friends and relatives. Create sparks between schools, churches, service clubs and businesses.
• Volunteer as a family. Track your combined time (i.e. if you visit Greenwoods together, multiply that time by the number of people). Reclaim some time together while helping others. There is no better way to teach children those heart skills than to be a good role model.
• Volunteer together with friends. We know that volunteering is becoming more of a social activity, especially with younger populations.
• Use volunteering as a strategy to cultivate new friendships with people who share similar values, interests and passions.
• Want to get your toes wet first? Talk to people who are volunteering in areas that you are interested and find out if you can “shadow a volunteer.”
• Encourage your high school students enrolled in work experience programs to see if they can push beyond their required 100 hours to 150.
• Students and teachers: We invite you to track the giving that you are already doing in support of learning about social responsibility. Hours visiting/reading to seniors, collecting garbage off the beaches, helping preschoolers through the Early Learning for Families program, etc. all count!
• Visit the VCR website to check out volunteer postings as well as to find a list of the different kinds of organizations on the island. Call us at 250-931-0039 or email to Janine Fernandes-Hayden at email@example.com if you need help.
• Become a sponsor. Work with us and be a leader in recognizing our many community volunteers. Call us at 250-931-0039 or email to Janine Fernandes-Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org to join this community campaign.
Volunteerism is at the heart of all vibrant and healthy Canadian Communities. We know that this is especially so on Salt Spring Island. There are over 250 not-for-profits (including approximately 80 registered charities) on our island delivering a variety of services, many for which municipal and regional governments in more urban areas might normally be responsible. The areas serviced range from agriculture to health, children to seniors, arts to recreation.
A significant amount of this work is volunteer-driven to include leadership volunteers on boards and committees as well as program volunteers working hard on the front lines. And then there is all the informal volunteering that occurs with people showing acts of kindness, helpfulness and compassion every day and in many ways to help improve the lives of others in our community.
When asked, “Where do you volunteer?” it is not unusual for islanders to rattle off a list of organizations/causes to which they commit their time. So let’s celebrate each other in the next 150 days and take the time to recognize all the good things that are happening in our community because of volunteers.