Volunteers—ever stop to think how much our society’s quality of life depends on the selfless people who give their time and energies to our community organizations?
On National Volunteer Week, marked from April 24-30, it’s time to stop, recognize and celebrate the actions of the more than 300,000 volunteers across Saskatchewan.
These volunteers coach, instruct, teach and officiate. They serve on community boards. They’re taking tickets, bringing refreshments, setting up tables and cleaning up at public events. They host and organize festivals, programs and activities, and look after our community facilities.
They really are the ordinary superstars who also live next door to us—people of all cultures, ages and abilities. And that statement is also equally valid for the volunteers who lead sport, culture and recreational activities across our province.
To recognize this contribution of sport, culture and recreation volunteers, we welcome you to watch this video from the Honourable Laura Ross, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, as well as read some of the amazing volunteer stories submitted to us.
The Gravelbourg & District Museum Volunteers
Community museums big and small throughout Saskatchewan are very dependent on the contribution of volunteers. While many museums were sadly forced to close their doors during the pandemic, some still continued to build community thanks to their volunteers. Gravelbourg & District Museum volunteers took the lead in starting a safe program designed to engage its residents in a creative, community-building activity over the past year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic empowered the little community of Gravelbourg. It has created a greater sense of community among its residents,” says Toos Giesen-Stefiuk, chair, Gravelbourg & District Museum. “The Gravelbourg & District Museum board and volunteers came out with the idea of a Community Art Quilt that would involve anyone who wanted to participate—seniors, newcomers, and even the youth came to be part to this project.” Giesen-Stefiuk says the museum has seven volunteer board members and over six active volunteers. The purpose of the project was to inspire the community to come out of “lock down” and participate in a safe community project.
For more on Gravelbourg & District Museum volunteers and other Volunteer Week recognition, visit SaskCulture.
“Thanks to abilities, passion, time and effort of Saskatchewan’s cultural volunteers, 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 who continued to serve despite the tremendous challenges presented during the pandemic, we say thank-you and express our deep gratitude. Your continued commitment to supporting cultural activity is especially meaningful as we work together to reenergize a culturally vibrant Saskatchewan.” - James Ingold, Chair, SaskCulture
Mason Medynski’s story
Saskatoon’s Mason Medynski might just be Saskatchewan’s Mr. Basketball. For 19 years, this local leader has been at the heart of several community basketball initiatives, giving his time and effort for the betterment of young players and the game. Mason was the basketball coordinator for Team Saskatchewan at the 2006, 2008, 2014, 2017 and 2023 North American Indigenous Games. He is the
co-founder of One Love Basketball as well as being the co-founder of Living Skies Indigenous Basketball League (2021). Since 2018, he has been the co-founder and Coach with the Saskatoon Supernovas Club Basketball Teams and was a committee member of the Kevin Moccasin Memorial Basketball Tournament (2003-2006, 2013) and the Bridge City Shootout (2009). Topping this off, he has remained a basketball coach for Dundonald with the Saskatoon Minor Basketball Association (SMBA) since 2014 and was basketball coordinator for the Tony Cote Winter Games (2006, 2018)/
We’re very fortunate to have such passionate and dedicated volunteers who offer time and effort in so many areas of the amateur sport community. These special individuals recognize how sport, truly, is more than a game. Volunteers provide numerous benefits and life lessons both on and off the field of play. No matter the level or type of competition, volunteers across Saskatchewan are willing to do whatever it takes to create opportunities for thousands of participants and are the foundation of the lottery-funded sport system. Without these dedicated passionate volunteers, we would not see the success we do with amateur sports in this province.
– Lance Dudar, Sask Sport and Sask Lotteries Chair
Kent McMann’s story
Foam Lake’s Kent McMann is one of the community’s “go to” people when it comes to leading volunteer efforts. He has been a key contributor to organizations like the Foam Lake Golf and Country Club, the Foam Lake Combine Lotto—helping raise nearly $3M for local recreation initiatives—and the Foam Lake Flyers Senior Hockey club, just to name a few.
He was recognized locally as Foam Lake’s 2021 recipient of the Colleen Kearns Memorial Volunteer Award, as well as provincially as the 2021 recipient of Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award. McMann sets a wonderful example for others and shows what can be achieved when volunteers come together to improve their community’s quality of life.
“Volunteers are critically important for building thriving communities through recreation. Without a passionate and dedicated network of volunteers, our industry wouldn’t be able to have as significant an impact on quality of life in Saskatchewan. Thank you to all the generous volunteers who give their time and skills to make all our lives better.”
- Jody Boulet, President, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association