This year, we celebrate National Volunteer Week while keeping in mind how challenging of a year it has been to be a volunteer, with 2021’s theme being 'The value of one, the power of many.'
Irregular times called for irregular protocol when volunteering, which more than likely lead to irregular duties.
Like years past, we salute the over 330,000 volunteers who help Saskatchewan people – of all cultures, ages and ability – participate in sport, culture and recreational activities with the appreciation of how difficult it may have been.
Saskatchewan has always been known for its amazing volunteers. They coach, instruct, teach and officiate; they serve on boards, lead bid committees to bring national and international events to our province; they host and organize festivals, programs and events; and they look after facilities, grounds and so much more. They do all of this while maintaining a positive attitude and are able to encourage, motivate and transform people into lifelong athletes, artists and community leaders.
All of this, as a volunteer.
"Volunteers work tirelessly for our amateur sport communities and are the foundation of our lottery-funded sport system. Without these dedicated, passionate and special individuals, sport – from competition to practices to equipment setup to tournaments – wouldn't happen. Sport has the power to connect us and give us a sense of belonging. It teaches so many life lessons that participants benefit from throughout life. Our volunteers have contributed to ensure that sport becomes, truly, more than a game."
- Angella Pinay, Sask Sport Volunteer Board Chair
Brett Hines is an official who is a trusted evaluator and competition judge, referee and technical specialist. Brett has been involved with Skate Canada - Saskatchewan for 20 years, showing a true passion for the sport. Brett has also been a member of the provincial association's board of directors, as well as numerous operational and officials' committees. His work has expanded to national and international volunteering on sport committees, development committees and being an official at many events.
Brett earned a 2020 Sask Sport Volunteer Recognition Award and received the 2020 Skate Canada Volunteer Award of Excellence. He is actively involved in officials' professional development and is a Learning Facilitator.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Brett has moved his volunteer activities to the virtual world by judging for virtual competitions and presenting at online workshops. He has also been able to participate in performance opportunity and feedback sessions with athletes.
View the volunteer recognition video featuring Brett at https://youtu.be/uIghuc5dIUA.
Erin Wilson is a longstanding volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross from Estevan, having started volunteering for the organization in 2002. Erin's passion for working with people is what keeps her volunteering, and she has made many friends through her passion for water safety.
Erin has embraced the challenge of virtual volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking a giant leap into the virtual world has also allowed her to push herself in a direction she would have never expected.
Over the past 19 years, Erin has volunteered as a Swimming & Water Safety Ambassador, Swimming & Water Safety Master Instructor Trainer and Psychological First Aid Champion, and was the Saskatchewan/Manitoba Aquatics Conference Chair for 11 years, all while being a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross.
"This Volunteer Week, I'm grateful for the many selfless volunteers that help energize Saskatchewan and change lives. Thank you for all you do this week and every week.
The theme of this year's Volunteer Week – 'Value of One, Power of Many' – applies perfectly to our industry. Volunteers in parks and recreation are passionate people who care deeply about their community's long-term health and happiness. Every single volunteer that commits time to serving their community is critical, and the collective effect of many volunteers working together is what creates thriving, vibrant communities."
- TJ Biemans, President, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association
Darlene Stakiw contributes countless hours to building a culturally vibrant and inclusive Saskatchewan. A resident of Yorkton, she volunteers for organizations such as Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District and the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, supporting community development, multiculturalism and anti-racism strategies as a board member and/or community coordinator.
Besides serving on the Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation board since June 2010, she has given time to actively facilitating community forums and film screenings designed to increase dialogue and learning about the importance of multiculturalism.
This past year, amid the pandemic, her work has continued more virtually. She recently served as panellist for virtual discussions on the International Day for the Elimination Racial Discrimination, and remains active in keeping these important discussions alive. Darlene's volunteer commitment to building better communities demonstrates the nature of Saskatchewan people who continue to give their time and talents year after year – even during a pandemic.
Saskatchewan has many cultural volunteers who contribute actively to supporting a culturally vibrant Saskatchewan. Check out the video tribute to just a few of the many volunteers who support culture in this province. https://www.saskculture.ca/about/our-people/volunteers/natvolweek/2021.
Saskatchewan's volunteers continually share their abilities, passion, time and efforts. Thanks to their generous spirit, people in this province benefit from a wide range of cultural activity and experiences. To those many volunteers who have given their time year after year, and to those that continue to serve despite the tremendous challenges presented during the pandemic, we say thank you and express our deep gratitude. Your continued commitment to supporting culture and your community is appreciated and especially meaningful as we work together to rebuild and re-energize a culturally vibrant Saskatchewan."
- James Ingold, Chair, SaskCulture
These volunteers and the many like them who support sport, culture and recreation enrich the lives of people in Saskatchewan by ensuring the benefits of participation are deep-rooted in our province. The sport, culture and recreation sector in our province would not be where it is without dedicated volunteers. Thank you to all volunteers for your tireless efforts and dedication in the most challenging of years.