Limited pool of volunteers left in Oceanside

As events gear up this summer in the mid-Island, and many people leave on holiday, the scramble for volunteers has begun

Events such as Kidfest

Events such as Kidfest

With all the big summer events falling into place, the scramble for the limited pool of volunteers is in full swing.

“We still need some coordinators and more volunteers, but we can make it work, there’s no threat that it won’t go ahead,’ said Bonnie Wallis of the 20th anniversary Kidfest.

Kidfest has struggled in recent years, going so far as to put it on hold early last year before enough volunteers came forward to save the event that runs along side the Quality Foods’ Children’s Sandcastle Competition on August 19.

The limited number of volunteers “just means more work for the volunteers that do come out, and then the risk is they won’t come back next year. Many hands make light work,” Wallis said.

Oceanside Volunteer Association (OVA) administrator Yvonne MacGregor said the supply and demand of volunteers always gets tighter in the summer.

The registered charity acts as a kind of match maker between people and organizations looking for help, with 560 volunteers currently signed up.

That is up slightly over last year and the number continues to slowly climb she said, but pointed out it is harder to know how much volunteering people are actually doing.

While Christmas is their busiest single event or holiday, there are a lot of big events through the summer — from Fire and Ice in Qualicum Beach in May to the Lighthouse Country Fall Fair in September — at a time when many potential volunteers leave town.

Organizers said some big events, like the Beachfest sand sculpture exhibition and Canada Day in Parksville, actually have more volunteers signed up now than last year, though everyone would always appreciate more.

Meanwhile, Kidfest has a fun list of entertainment lining up for this summer’s event, including Craig McKee of  UnReality Magic, prop performer Jake West, Tickles the Clown, Kumbana Marimba, Jangano and Gerry Barnum.

The stage entertainment is nearly nonstop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and over 30 community groups will provide free interactive games, crafts and activities for children under 14.

Both MacGregor and Wallis tout the benefits of volunteering in the community and encourage people to get involved one way or another.

People interested in helping Kidfest, Aug. 19 in Parksville’s Community Park, should contact Wallis at BonnieWallis@shaw.ca or check their website at www.kidfest.ca.

Anyone wanting to volunteer in general should check the Oceanside Volunteer Association website at www.oceansidevolunteer.org which has a lot of good information about volunteering, including listings of their current opportunities.

For more call 250-594-2637, e-mail oceansidevolunteer@shaw.ca or stop by #4 – 172 Second Avenue West, Qualicum Beach Tues. to Thurs., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.