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Editorial: Void of volunteers limiting events

Committing even a small amount of time can go a long way
Food preparation is an important element at the Cowichan Neighbourhood House and Joan Novak helps out with that task. (Photo by Kathryn Asp)

It’s a common problem in most communities and Chemainus is no exception. The lack of volunteers clearly dictates whether certain community events can happen or not.

The post-COVID restriction time and the return to activities is great, but limitations are surfacing without the necessary people to help with all the tasks.

The biggest loss for Chemainus in the bid for full-fledged tourist visits again was the Cowichan Craft Beer and Food Festival. This event, repurposed at the Chemainus Ball Park’s Larry Irving Field in 2022, brought a huge influx into town.

It was well-organized and immensely successful, but ran with a bare-bones crew working behind the scenes. As a result, Chemainus Business Improvement Association executive director Krystal Adams made the difficult decision not to go ahead with the event again in 2023.

The plan now is to make the festival biennial so the crop of volunteers isn’t spread too thin.

That’s most unfortunate because what typically happens with events like this is they lose momentum. Once people are drawn to it and it’s on the calendar for a specific date, many plan ahead accordingly. They might just make other plans if they can’t count on it happening regularly, even if it does return in 2024.

The answer, of course, is for more volunteers to come forward. It’s the same people who do just about everything and often on more than one board or organization.

Tom Andrews is a prime example. He’s been the president of the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society for more than a decade and is also president of the Mount Brenton Golf Club’s board of directors plus a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Chemainus.

There are several others like him.

Ironically, Adams has even tried for paid personnel to fill certain positions and that didn’t work out.

Chadd Cawson, a reporter at the Cowichan Valley Citizen, is new to the area and has the right idea. He looks for these types of opportunities as a way to meet people.

Others with some time on their hands and perhaps looking at integrating themselves into the community should do the same.

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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