Monday, June 15, 2009

Just Say Yes

Yesterday, I dragged A & P — and a friend who, unluckily for her if she was hoping for a lie-in — out of bed far too early for teenagers on a weekend. We were off to volunteer for the Edge-to-Edge Marathon. (I think I mentioned that 12 or so years ago, some brilliant person in Ucluelet twigged to the fact that the distance between our two coastal towns is almost exactly a marathon.) We "womanned" the first relay exchange station, making sure runners found the next person in their relay, handing out medals & water, pointing the way to the washrooms, etc.

I have participated in the relay three or four times now, always as a runner. ("Runner" is a loose term; plodder is probably more apt.) This was my first year as a volunteer. And you know, it was really fun and it only took a couple of hours out of my day. I wasn't going to volunteer at all, but the increasingly frantic and pleading tone of the race organizer, who was desperate for volunteers, finally caused me to make the call. I say yes a lot. Sometimes I really don't want to, but I do and I'm almost always glad I did. The blush of the fun of volunteering was tainted a bit in the afternoon though, when I had to listen to complaint after complaint from a mother who was upset at something I've been working hard to organize for local youth. I listened patiently, commiserated, apologized, but I really just wanted to ask her if she'd like to organize it instead.

I am not writing this for all to see to blow my own horn, or to point fingers, but perhaps it is a bit of a vent. We are all busy. Some of us are VERY, very busy. I work full time (more than full time actually), but I also work out of my house, so I realize that does give me more flexibility. Still, I see the same people over and over and over again volunteering in our towns. The marathon this past weekend, benefitted a lot of people — restaurants, B&Bs, hotels, motels, shops, ... and more. Still, the organizer had to waste huge amounts of valuable time pleading for volunteers to give a few hours.

In the end, this post is a big shout out to all of those people in Tofino (and Ucluelet, too) who volunteer for those programs that pulse at the heart of our communities — hospice, youth surf club, the food bank, the many festivals (oyster, shorebird, food & wine, whale, ...), synchro, slow-pitch, floor hockey, Canada Day, Halloween, the craft fairs, and more, more, more.

Here's your shout out. (Art by daughter, A.)

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