It’s National Volunteer Week and this year’s theme is: Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community.
This really does say it all for me. Volunteers are involved in community building and creating value in a number of ways. They are such an important part of making Esquimalt the exciting and vibrant place that it is.
I often refer to the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” in relation to volunteering, because volunteers create an environment in the community in which children feel safe and are able to realize their full potential. There are so many examples of this, but the Esquimalt Lions’ efforts in raising funds for the Esquimalt Adventure Park in 2017 springs to mind.
Volunteers exist in many layers throughout the community, often doing their important work without being recognized.
I see volunteers on our many committees playing a vital role in advising council. Their behind-the-scenes work leads to new policies and recommendations that benefit the community as a whole.
I see volunteers involved in the hard work of planning and executing popular community events. Those who work in event planning know the amount of time and effort required to execute a successful event. Buccaneer Days, the Township Community Arts Council Memorial Park Music Series and other arts events, the Fort Macaulay Interpretive event, the Bloomin’ Beautiful Garden Tour, Ribfest, Earth Day, the award-winning Esquimalt Farmer’s Market – these are just a few examples of local events that require the dedicated efforts of talented volunteers.
Service groups such as the Esquimalt Lions, Legion and Chamber of Commerce all provide outstanding community services in a variety of ways, and these services depend heavily on volunteerism.
We were reminded last January, during the tsunami alert, of the importance of volunteers working to make us all safe during times of crisis. Volunteers work hard in organizations such as Emergency Social Services, the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program and the radio communications group. Emergencies can happen at any time and these volunteers are always at the ready to keep us safe and informed.
VicPD also has an extensive volunteer program in support of its crime prevention activities. Community members are involved in such programs as Crime Watch and the Ambassador Program, as well as volunteering at special projects and events.
Finally, it’s important to remember that volunteering necessarily means spending time away from family – behind every energetic volunteer is a supportive family! Volunteers are at the heart of the community and truly make Esquimalt shine.
Would you like to add your efforts to those of our many community volunteers? The Township currently has vacancies on several of its committees. Please join in and make a difference in your community. Find out more about committee and other opportunities on our website at esquimalt.ca.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins can be reached at Barbara.Desjardins@esquimalt.ca.