It’s because of volunteers community events happen

July 28, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville is a great place to live simply because of the events that it runs and the people who make those events happen!

I just cannot imagine the town without key events such as Ribfest, The Home Show, Christmas in the Park or the Santa Claus Parade. I think the key for all of us who live here, and enjoy these community events, must know is that none of this happens without volunteers. Volunteers are the very fabric that keeps our fine town woven together. If not for their good works, Orangeville would simply be a place to sleep and eat. The pride we feel when sharing with others where we are from, would be shallow, perhaps meaningless without this backbone of our community.

I have been thinking about Ribfest since I attended with my family. Yes, I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere provided. However, I spent most of my time shaking hands and happily saying hello to people I knew but had not seen for a while. Ribfest is an outstanding community event. Period.

I spend a lot of my time contemplating things. I think about how we could collectively make things better for our community. I also think about a town that is heavily reliant on its volunteer base. The Rotary Club of Orangeville was responsible for Ribfest. They wholeheartedly deserve a thank-you and kudos for the time and effort they spent on putting together such a wonderful fundraiser. They had over 20,000 people attend and in so doing set a record for the event’s attendance. The Rotary Club will conservatively raise better than $70,000 on the event. All of this money, ALL of this money will go back into the town for some sort of great event. Past monies have gone to the creation of a splash pad, Skateboard Park, and the GrandPals program that is run so successfully in our schools. Rotary has also been very involved in fundraising for the Headwaters hospital. Again, I wonder where would this town be without them?

Did you know that Rotary volunteers were out the Wednesday prior to the weekend event setting up the facilities? In fact, a team of Rotarians had been working for months on the preparation work necessary to make the event happen. In addition to also working the entire weekend in sweltering heat, many within the Rotary Club stayed late Sunday night to clean up. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? What if I told you that many in the Rotary club also came back on Monday to finish cleaning up. Basically a week of their lives was spent working for free. The Rotarians are an impressive group of dedicated volunteers who simply want to make our town a better community. Impressive.

My wish for our town? I wish that we had many, many more folks willing to dedicate their volunteers hours to the betterment of our community.

Can you imagine Dufferin County without the Christmas lights at Kay Cee Gardens? The Optimist club (of which I am a member) spends countless hours putting together displays and lights for the enjoyment of others each December. The leadership of the event was overseen for years by the incredible Dennis Cox. Like the Rotarians, Mr. Cox and his volunteers have spent countless hours putting together an event that all of us enjoy each and every year. Fortunately as time has passed others have stepped in to take the leadership from Dennis. Now Optimists such as Mike Chezy and Derek Bennett dedicate their free time to ensuring such an important event is carried on. It is a wonderful event to enjoy each and every festive season.

Other favourites of my family are the Kin Club’s Santa Claus Parade. I have often admired how patient the organizers are with those participating in the parade and those watching. “Please stay off the street!” Who does not like to see all of the different floats, politicians waving, children smiling, and Santa Claus HO HO HO’ing?! It is a great day. 

The Mono Nordic ski club also has an amazing cross country ski program. They offer programs for all ages! There are over 20 km of trails available for everyone to enjoy. The very dedicated president, Ron Jasiuk, and life-long volunteer Ross Martin have led a successful program in Dufferin county for generations of skiers. If you like skiing – try it. If you like the club offer to volunteer your services, do it. It really is a fun winter activity.

Today we lost an amazing woman who had a heart for volunteerism.  June Daley, who recently won the 2015 Senior Volunteer of the Year, has passed away. This is not an obituary column. That said, it is important to note that Mrs. Daley was a strong advocate for the town of Orangeville. She passionately volunteered her time in the Block Parent program, Food Bank, and Orangeville Public Library. Our community is better today because of June’s contributions. We are fortunate to have had someone live here that cared so passionately about her surroundings. She was a gift to all of us.

My challenge to the rest of us: simply give generously of your time. Any amount of time you have to give is always appreciated. Participate in the town’s activities, they are what make our town great, and connect us together. Give to others, not with money but with your expertise and passion. Be inspired by the Rotary Club, the Optimist Club, the Kin club, the Lion’s club, Food Bank, Mono Nordic, and many others.

Our town will never have another June Daley, but we could certainly learn from her example, and become a part of this community in a meaningful way. Think about it.


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