Editorial: What can you bring to the volunteer table?

Volunteers are an invaluable community resource. What talents or skills do you have to contribute?

Like so many communities across Canada, many of the opportunities, amenities and services we enjoy here in Oak Bay wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of volunteers.

Bill Murphy-Dyson, on the front page with a special framed gift he received for his many years at the helm of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society, was also the first recipient of Oak Bay’s newly expanded Oak Leaf program.

The program recognizes service to the community, and is certainly a fitting honour. Murphy-Dyson served as chair of the Tea Party Society from 1999 to 2015 and remains involved today with the event that has brought smiling faces to Willows Park for 55 years.

His is also a familiar face at events like the Oak Bay village Christmas light-up, where he emcees the festivities, proving, as with so many volunteers, that it’s tough to limit your time to just one organization or event.

Yet few do it for the kudos.

From youth sports teams to the Community Association of Oak Bay’s night walks, Oak Bay Green Committee’s monthly recycling drives to local Kiwanians’ support of the Halloween bonfire at the Oak Bay firehall, volunteers are responsible for much of what makes Oak Bay, well, Oak Bay.

See a gap or a way to help out?

Many of the community’s organizations would be more than happy for fresh ideas and helping hands. Opportunities run the gamut from hands-on projects to helping behind the scenes with services like accounting or promotions. If you have a skill, chances are there’s a group in the community that would appreciate it.

Consider that Statistics Canada says more than 12 million volunteers gave 1.96 billion hours to their volunteer activities, equivalent to about one million full-time jobs. Imagine how different Canada – and Oak Bay – would look without them.