Steeves: Volunteers are the glue that binds a community together

It seems these days everyone is always busy. Even those who are retired seem to have lots to occupy themselves.

It seems these days everyone is always busy. Even those who are retired seem to have lots to occupy themselves.

So, it’s surprising that some people still do have time to volunteer their energy, expertise and time to help causes such as natural ecosystems, youngsters, the elderly, society and wildlife.

But there they are, out planting bulbs in the new xeriscape demonstration garden at the H2O Centre, weeding and trimming back plants for the winter; teaching youngsters about the outdoors and how to fish and shoot; offering free guided hikes for the public all over the Central Okanagan; trapping and counting spawning Kokanee in the dark and cold; setting up community gardens; and planting dozens of shrubs along a fish-bearing stream to improve the habitat.

And, those are just a few of the activities I know about that local people and groups have been involved with in the past few weeks.

These are not people with nothing else to do. They are not people who have no skills to offer and no experience or education to impart.

They’re professional biologists, hydrologists, lawyers, doctors and nurses. They work in upper management in industry and commerce and they labour at the lower echelons of business.

They’re people with lots of other responsibilities, involved in other activities, and with jobs, families and interests of their own, in addition to their community involvement.

They’re the people who don’t stand up and talk about their accomplishments; who don’t tell everyone about all the good things they do for their community.

But, when there’s a call for volunteers they juggle their other activities and show up.

No matter how many of them there are, there’s never enough.

They’re the fuel that moves a community; the muscles that hold it up and make it smile; the firm foundation on which it can grow.

Volunteers don’t do it for the thanks from kokanee or wildlife, kids or elders; they do it because they feel it’s important and someone has to do it. Plus, I hear there’s a personal satisfaction in helping out.

If you’d like to experience some of that satisfaction, contact your nearest fish and game club or the B.C. Wildlife Federation; the closest nature club such as the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club; the Central Okanagan Community Gardens Society; or the Okanagan Xeriscape Association. Most of them have websites through which you can contact people to ask how you can become involved.

They all welcome new members.

In fact, the next meeting of the CONC is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. ,at 3261 Gordon Dr. Featured will be a presentation by Cec Dillabough on Papua, New Guinea. Guests are welcome.

There’s also a special free presentation and film by the Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society on Friday, Nov. 4 at the theatre in Summerland Secondary School called Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators, about wolves and cougars. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.



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