Is volunteerism waning in rural B.C.?

People volunteering for local initiatives is imperative; Marisca hopes young people step up

Last week I wrote two articles that made me think about where volunteers are going. I talked with some ladies of the Ladies Auxiliary at the legion about their group getting older and needing new faces to join their team. These women support the local branch in carrying out its work on behalf of all veterans and their dependants. They raise about $10,000 a year for the Smithers Legion. This is important work that helps out the community but some of the ladies are now in their 90s and the small group of women need more people to help out.

Also, last week a Telkwa business person was acclaimed to the village council in their recent byelection because he was the only one who put his name forward to run. Small town councillors don’t get paid very much, are often blamed for things they do or don’t do, and it is very time consuming but it is an important job. And someone needs to do it. Luckily one person stepped up to a fill the vacant seat. (In the last municipal election in Telkwa, all four village council candidates ran unopposed and were acclaimed.)

I’m not saying there aren’t any volunteers anymore. I think this community is full of people who give their time and energy to a lot of different causes. But a lot of people I’ve talked to say that a few people do a majority of the work. If you need something done, give it to a busy person. But when will these busy people burn out? And will the next generation be as actively involved in volunteer work as previous generations? Especially small, rural communities need people to step up. There are many events that happen in Smithers because people make it happen and don’t get paid for it. The small businesses here donate a lot of money and in-kind goods and services so this community can thrive. I hope this continues and I hope residents are appreciative of this.

The bigger question is, how can we raise the next generation to not only give, but want to give? Most high schools have implemented mandatory volunteer hours. In school, we had to volunteer at least forty hours or we couldn’t graduate. Is forcing people to volunteer really volunteering? Maybe the thought process was to set the stage and grow volunteers. It isn’t a bad idea, it is just too bad it has to be forced. I’m not sure there is a better way. I just hope I can raise my children to understand the importance of giving back and be active members of society. I know the best way to do this is to set an example and be a good role model. Maybe this Christmas season is a great time to start showing my four-year-old how to give back.


@MariscaDekkema
marisca.bakker@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Screen shot of a cabin somewhere in the Bulkley Valley from rare 1955 film footage of the area.
VIDEO: More rare film footage of the Bulkley Valley in 1955

Can you help identify the locations and/or people in these videos

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

Most Read