It’s National Volunteer Week! We salute the over 330,000 volunteers who help Saskatchewan people - of all cultures, ages, and ability - participate in sport, culture, and recreation opportunities.
Saskatchewan is known for its wonderful volunteers. They serve on boards; they are our coaches, instructors, and officials; they lead bid committees bringing national and international events to the province; they host and organize festivals, programs, and events that engage our communities. Volunteers build trails, look after grounds, facilities, and so much more. These volunteers are able to encourage, motivate, and transform people into life-long athletes, artists, and community leaders. They do this while supporting healthy lifestyles and developing skills for life.
“Volunteers are the foundation of the lottery-funded sport, culture, and recreation system. They are a group of highly skilled professionals who believe participation in sport, culture, and recreation has the power to transform lives and communities, and that it should be accessible for all.”
- Leslie Blyth, volunteer Board Chair of Sask Sport
Derek Rope, a long-time volunteer and supporter of youth athletics, has helped start multiple track and field clubs in Indigenous communities. Derek is currently the Chair of Saskatchewan Aboriginal Track and Field. He has helped to organize more than 10 community track and field clinics for young athletes and has run several coaching symposiums to support new track and field coaches. Derek has also served as Team Saskatchewan Athletics Development Co-ordinator at multiple North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), director for the Aboriginal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Saskatoon, and has volunteered at multiple Tony Cote Summer Games.
Loretta Lyons has been a certified track and field official for three decades. Today, she continues to make contributions to the track and field community by mentoring and evaluating new officials. Loretta has officiated at many provincial, national and international events, including the Saskatchewan Summer Games, Canada Summer Games, North American Indigenous Games, and World Masters Summer Games.
“The commitment and dedication of volunteers continues to be the life force behind the successful delivery of sport, culture, and recreation programming in this province. We are all very fortunate that these individuals give their time, energy, and talents to help build better communities and provide important opportunities for us all to learn, live, and grow.”
- James Rose, SaskCulture President
Linda Jeffery began leading Forever…in motion classes, a physical activity program for Saskatchewan’s seniors, in her hometown of Redvers to improve the health and well-being of other older adults in her community, including a spry and active 101-year-old! Linda says, “I really enjoy volunteering, and I believe in this program because of its commitment to older adults. Even if just one person shows up to my class, that is one more person whose health will benefit.”
Bula Ghosh is one of many dedicated individuals who believes strongly in volunteering to support cultural development and activity in the province.
Bula came to Canada 38 years ago and began volunteering as a way to meet new people and learn about life in Saskatchewan. “Being involved has given me a life of purpose and satisfaction that no paid job can give. It has helped me build community connections and created an enormous sense of belonging to the people, province, and country. I feel that I have received more than I have ever contributed. A paid job helps us to make a living; a volunteer job gives us quality of life.” A recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Volunteer Medal, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan Award for Volunteerism in Multiculturalism, YWCA Women of Distinction, and many others, Bula currently serves as a volunteer board member for the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre; the Southwest Multicultural Association; the Southwest District for Sport, Culture and Recreation; and Heritage Saskatchewan; as well as serving on SaskCulture funding assessment panels and as a former board member.
“Saskatchewan’s volunteers are the true catalysts for active and engaged communities throughout our province. They give their time because they care about our well-being and believe in safe, quality, and inclusive sport, culture, and recreation opportunities.”
- Coralie Bueckert, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association President
The volunteers who support sport, culture, and recreation ensure the benefits of participation are long-lasting and far-reaching, enriching Saskatchewan lives and communities for years to come. The sport, culture, and recreation sector would not be where it is without these dedicated volunteers. Thank you to all volunteers for your tireless contributions of time and hard work.