Volunteers enjoy view

Well, the mid-Island’s summer festival season is in full swing, drawing anywhere from dozens to thousands of residents and visitors.

From Beach Festival in Parksville to Beach Day in Qualicum Beach, from the St. Mark’s Street Fair to street rods at car shows throughout the region, festival-goers of all ages have options of interactive and/or entertaining activities of interest to them.

With plenty more on the horizon at least through Labour Day, we thought this would be a good time for a shout-out to those labouring behind the scenes to make it happen.

No, these events and activities do not simply spring up organically, fully formed, at the waterfront or the park or the fairgrounds.

Of the many assets that make our communities so attractive to live in or to visit, the one perhaps most often overlooked is its people. In particular, the volunteers who set aside their own time — in many cases beginning months in advance — to organize, set up and run the events that we set aside a few hours to simply enjoy.

Depending on the event, of course, our municipalities are involved or playing leading roles. The same goes for the business community, which either individually or through the auspices of local chambers of commerce, organize and promote their own events.

But even in those cases, volunteers provide the backbone that carries the festival or event to a successful conclusion.

This volunteerism extends far beyond these seasonal fun-in-the-sun gatherings. Social services organizations that work year-round to assist the most needy among us may have paid directors, but the bulk of the one-on-one interaction with clients comes from people who are simply interested in making a difference.

The same rule applies to many organizations offering sports and recreation opportunities to our children. The local volunteers who ran the recent provincial lacrosse and softball championship tournaments did not simply raise a hand and pop up when it was time for the tournament to start. These folks have been coaching our children and organizing local tournaments, clinics and other activities for years.

Last week in this space we asked you to hug a tourist for the contributions they make to our economy.

How about a hat-tip for your local volunteers the next time you’re enjoying a local festival or event? Better yet, join up. You might find the view from behind the curtain to your liking.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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