Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Appreciating Volunteers

Last week, I had the honour of being asked by a highly-respected Pelham resident to consider joining the Board of a long-standing and significant Niagara arts group.

I phrase it that way, because the individual that was inviting me to the Board knows about volunteering. She knows that volunteering is a conscious choice. She knows that to join a Board (in this case) is a choice that one must make given all other commitments and engagements in one’s life.

Wouldn’t you say it’s the same with all types of volunteerism?

All volunteers make a conscious choice to give of their time and of their talents to improve some part of our community or our region for the benefit of others.

Sometimes we don’t think of it that way. Sometimes we feel that we must volunteer or maybe our kids won’t have a coach. We might feel forced to volunteer.

But, in reality, if you are the one stepping up to the plate and volunteering, it is your conscience choice to act – to make that commitment.

I believe that all acts of volunteerism are sacred acts. Volunteers give of themselves, without any personal benefit, to help another person or to make community a better place.

This goes for the many coaches and conveners of the various sports in Pelham and for members of the Town’s outstanding Service Clubs. It’s the same with the specially appointed members of Town Committees like those that volunteer on the Library Board, the Active Transportation Committee, the Downtown Beautification Committee, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, and the Pelham Community Policing Committee.

The same commitment is given with more community based endeavours like the Farmer’s Market Committee, the Bandshell Committee, the Pelham Art Festival committee, the Pelham Horticultural Society, the Communities In Bloom committee, and the hundreds of other volunteers in our community.

In this way, I am very pleased that tonight is Pelham’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation. It is extremely important to honour and thank the hundreds of volunteers that work to make our community better.

On your behalf, this evening I will offer special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers in our Town who work tirelessly to build and improve our community. I will thank them for their vision of a better community, their dedication to acting on that vision, and their generosity of sharing their time, talents, and treasures for the benefit of others.

Next time you get a chance, I encourage you to thank a volunteer.