Lifestyle

Volunteers heralded worldwide

Remembrance Day is swiftly approaching. Did you know that in 1943 a volunteer recruitment effort to enlist women for wartime voluntary service laid the foundation for our National Volunteer Week?

The importance of engaging volunteers and supporting volunteer organizations now receives formal recognition worldwide.

Earlier this week, Nov. 5 marked International Volunteer Managers’ Day. This day recognized those who support others as they donate their time, talent and often their treasure as well.

Volunteers are not a free source of labour that magically shows up whenever needed. There is typically a person or several people behind the scenes who help organize the contributions of a group of others.

Volunteer managers might be paid staff but are just as likely to be volunteers themselves. They face responsibilities similar to their counterparts in business human resource departments.

The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector has developed National Occupational Standards for Managers of Volunteer Resources which describes tasks, knowledge, skills and personal characteristics.

We must be good volunteering and managing volunteers here in Kelowna. According to Statistics Canada, Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians 2010 Report, 53 per cent of us formally volunteer with an average of 248 hours given annually.

That compares to 49 per cent of B.C. residents, aged 15 years and older, giving 178 hours, and 47 per cent of Canadians giving 156 hours each year.

We will take time to celebrate all volunteers April 21-27 for Canada’s National Volunteer Week. The tagline has just been announced by Volunteer Canada as: Volunteers Cast a Beautiful Shadow.

It is a week-long celebration whereby registered charities, not-for-profit organizations and volunteer centres pause to thank and recognize their volunteers.

You can find a copy of the HR Council Standards at kcr.ca. Search for volunteer opportunities or customize your volunteer profile.

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