I was happy and privileged to attend and briefly speak at the 35th Anniversary celebration of our Oak Bay Volunteer Society (OBVS). Keynote speaker June Preston (also one of the founders of the Oak Bay Volunteer Society and who hired Joan Halvorsen), is a woman I have known for a long time. Her husband and I worked together in the 1970’s in the corrections and social services fields.
June gave what I believe was a timely keynote on the importance of volunteerism and talked about the successes, challenges and future of volunteer efforts in our local community, across BC and in Canada. She cited some major challenges facing the “third sector,” one comprised of volunteers and non-profits. The other two are government and the private sector.
Lack of funding, limited staff, retirement and a cultural shift in attitude and commitment to volunteering are all factors that seem to be having a negative impact on volunteerism. June also argues that volunteers don’t tell their stories often enough, suggesting that modesty about their success and wide-ranging positive impacts on our communities and society, works against them. “Tell your stories,” she said to the audience. June believes that volunteers and non-profits need to have a conversation with each other and with their communities to help strategize how to deal with shrinking resources, money and people.
June gave another presentation to the volunteer sector some months ago titled “Please Show Up –You’re Not Done Yet,” a sentiment that she shared again at this 35th OBVS celebration.
Congratulations to OBVS and all the wonderful volunteers who make it tick. I have said so many times that OBVS volunteers are the heart of our community — their compassion, passion and commitment to reaching out to others is unsurpassed.
Thank you for all you do!