What would Squamish be without volunteers?
This is an important question, as last year, Statistics Canada reported that 65% of the nation’s nonprofit organizations serving households and individuals were experiencing a shortage of volunteers and planned to recruit.
At the same time, 32% report an increase in demand for services, according to Volunteer Canada.
“The importance of Canada’s volunteers cannot be overstated. They represent not only the quality and vitality, but the very functioning of our society,” said Volunteer Canada board chair Lisa Mort-Putland in a news release.
Volunteering is part of what keeps our economic engine humming.
A Conference Board of Canada report estimated that volunteers added over two billion hours to Canada’s work effort in 2017, equal to $55.9 billion or 2.6% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.
“If volunteering were an industry, it would employ nearly as many people as those currently working in education,” the report states.
Remove from Squamish all those who donate their time and you would not have Squamish SAR, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue or Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival and the Railway Museum of BC.
The heart of Squamish is a giving community — think of the folks with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society who shuttle patients to the city for appointments.
Think of the funding supplied to other groups by Squamish Rotary.
What would SORCA be without volunteers to run the social rides and races?
The list of organizations and events that make Squamish what it is that depend on volunteers is long — from the arts to sports to our trail network.
Think of the organizations that improve the environment like Squamish CAN, the Squamish Environment Society, Watershed Society or the Streamkeepers and the trails societies.
And think of all the youth sports teams that continue, thanks to volunteers. There are far more fantastic volunteer organizations than we can name here.
And they could all use more help.
One misnomer around volunteering is that it means a significant commitment of time. Tell your favourite organization that you only have an hour a week. Bet it still welcomes you.
Another misnomer is that you have to be extraordinary to volunteer, but it often doesn’t require any specific skill at all.
The seventh annual Squamish’s Volunteer Celebration is on Friday, April 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Junction Park and O’Siyam Pavilion.
Local nonprofits, community groups, and service organizations will set up tables and activities “to celebrate all of the volunteers in the community and bring awareness to volunteer culture in Squamish.”
Whether you currently volunteer or not, check it out.
And if you would like to shout out a specific volunteer or organization, consider sending a daffodil (75 words or less), and we will publish them in the next print paper: firstname.lastname@example.org.