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Celebrating Saskatchewan Volunteers

Across the country, National Volunteer Week is being celebrated from April 14 to 21. It’s a time to recognize the incredible contributions that volunteers across Saskatchewan make to our quality of life.

In our province, we are very lucky as Saskatchewan is home to more than 330,000 volunteers.

These individuals are ordinary superstars who live next door to us – people of all cultures, ages and abilities.

To recognize the contribution of sport, culture and recreation volunteers, we welcome you to read some of the amazing volunteer stories submitted to us by Sask Sport, SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association.

If you are looking for opportunities to volunteer in Saskatchewan, visit Volunteer Connector.

National Volunteer Week 2024

Aboriginal Storytellers Series

Dedicated volunteers are the heart, soul and energy of the long-running Saskatchewan Aboriginal Storytellers (SAS) program.

A group of volunteers with a drum

The Storytelling Series was originally formed over 20 years ago out of a volunteer committee of the Saskatchewan Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples (LSSAP). Originally started to increase access of library services for Indigenous peoples, the SAS program introduced and promoted the tradition of storytelling, creating a space for cultural transmission of knowledge.

Since its beginnings, volunteers have remained crucial to the program’s success, supporting committee work, crowd control, programming, technical support, set-up/take-down, research and communications. With the growth of Indigenous Storytelling Month, SAS's volunteer engagement has continued to expand over time – ranging anywhere from 50 to 100 volunteers each year.

A group of people sitting around a table doing crafts

“Volunteerism created the SAS project and established its sustainability over the years,” SAS coordinator Jessica Generoux said. “The storytelling events and projects help promote, protect and preserve Indigenous knowledge in Saskatchewan.”

The program, which began with 21 storytelling sessions and just over 2,800 participants, has grown to feature many Indigenous artists, including both in-person and online delivery, attracting over 30,000 participants annually.

“Having the storytelling project in Saskatchewan has made some inroads in making the public libraries more welcoming and has opened doors for Indigenous people to not only use the services, but also in becoming part of the library community,” Generoux added.

For more information on the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Storytellers Series, visit the Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples website.

"We are so appreciative of the many individuals who commit their time, energy and talents to supporting the arts, heritage and cultural community in the province. It's always interesting to ask 'why' these people choose to volunteer. Some may support a particular activity or organization, want to share their special skills or abilities, have extra time to give, or look forward to connecting and working with others. As well, many cultural volunteers will also add that it's about giving back, contributing to a culturally vibrant province, and helping to build strong, thriving communities for future generations."
– Jan Seibel, Chair, SaskCulture Board of Directors

For more information on cultural volunteers and initiatives supported thanks to Sask Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation, visit the SaskCulture website.

Communities in Bloom - Moosomin

Communities in Bloom (CiB) volunteers came together with the goal of putting Moosomin on the map – and they did just that!

The momentum of this newly formed group of community volunteers has seen their hard work and dedication pay off. With the help of these dedicated volunteers, Moosomin along with the Pipestone Hills Golf Course and the Moosomin and District Regional Park were recognized in 2023 as a provincial winner of Communities in Bloom.

This national and provincial program recognizes communities’ participation in projects involving beautification, heritage and environmental awareness.

A group of people holding a banner

CiB volunteers in Moosomin have been catalysts of collaboration, all in an effort to make their community a better place for residents and visitors. Their efforts strengthened relationships between the town, golf club, regional park and rural municipality. It has created new opportunities to honour local history.

Two students digging a hole to plant a tree

They have also partnered with the local high school’s Environmental Science Class to plant trees across the community in support of the 1,000 Trees Strategy, host clean-up days at the regional park and improve greenspaces throughout the community.

Their greatest reward has been inspiring the next generation of volunteers.

"As we celebrate Volunteer Week, I’m reminded of the vital role volunteers play in shaping our communities. As a volunteer myself, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of dedicated volunteers and am continually inspired by those who give selflessly of their time, skills, and passion to make Saskatchewan a better place for us all."
– Darcy McLeod, President, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association

North American Indigenous Games Chef de Mission, Mike Tanton, and NAIG Steering Committee

Mike Tanton began his volunteer journey in 2002, attending the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) as a basketball coach.

Man and woman posing in a large arena

Since then, he has attended the Games on four more occasions, as a basketball coach in 2005 and 2008, as well as the Chef de Mission in 2017 and 2023.

At the most recent Games, after being postponed for three years, Tanton and more than 130 volunteers led Team Saskatchewan to a tremendous success, leading all other teams with 175 medals. 

A man with a woman holding a picture frame in a gym

On top of his work with NAIG, Tanton helped co-found One Love Basketball in 2016 and the Living Skies Basketball League in 2019.

For his dedication to basketball and sport in general, Tanton was recognized by the Toronto Raptors through the Role Model Campaign in 2023, and later that year, also received a Saskatchewan Sport Award for Volunteer Dedication.

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the amateur sport community. Chef de Mission of Team Saskatchewan at the North American Indigenous Games, Mike Tanton, and the NAIG Steering Committee are a testament to that statement. They should be commended for their leadership in supporting Saskatchewan athletes before and during that event, and for their perseverance in addressing the difficult circumstances of NAIG being postponed three years. The fact that Saskatchewan topped the leaderboard with 175 medals at NAIG is a credit to their work.”
– Bill Kinash, Sask Sport Board of Directors Chair

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