Welcome back to the students, teachers and staff of all our local schools. Hope you all had a safe, fun and relaxing time off from books, classes and assignments and were able to go on a warm trip or spend time with family and friends.
Last week a few of our readers may remember an article with the headline ‘Helmets required while in vehicle’. While it may have seemed like a believable issue, it was a made up story in celebration of April Fool’s Day on April 1. I just wanted to clarify that it was a fake story, just in case there are those in town who did not read the story from start to finish.
It was great to get phone calls from those who did not read to the end of the article as well as those who did and enjoyed the humour. It was encouraging to get feedback from the community and fun to finally have a newspaper that was distributed on April Fools Day.
So, thanks to readers for responding to the story as well as adjusting to our new paper size. It has been a lot of fun writing and keeping up with the community.
Volunteerism seems to be a prominent theme in Ponoka. Residents of all ages have freely given a hand with many projects, events and causes. The work that these volunteers put in to make the community a positive place to live and work will soon be formally recognized at a volunteer appreciation celebration on April 24.
Last year, the seats were full at the Kinsmen Centre as volunteer after volunteer walked in for the celebration. The speaker for the evening was Spencer Beach, a man who had been badly burned in a house fire and found great value in volunteer work.
Volunteer week this year is celebrated from April 19 to 25 and is recognized across Canada. It is a week that is set aside in April each year to honour and recognize Canadians who donate their time and put a lot of effort into their communities. The week to celebrate volunteers began in 1943 during the Second World War as a volunteer recruitment effort to enlist women for wartime voluntary service. The concept of a week devoted to volunteers somewhat died out after that but was reintroduced during the late 1960s. Currently every year more than 80,000 registered charities and 100,000 not-for-profit organizations across Canada take time to show their gratitude and recognize their volunteers.
In a recent survey it was shown that 45 per cent of Canadians aged 15 or older, about 12 million people, did volunteer work during or throughout the year. On average members of this group contributed 168 hours of their time and energy into their community.
The survey also reported that 50 per cent of Albertans took time out to volunteer in their town or city.
Ponoka sees these volunteers everyday, throughout the seasons, and volunteering for all kinds of people and needs.
Volunteer work has been seen in many areas of Ponoka including Santa’s Anonymous, the Ponoka Stampede, Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and many many other organizations, programs, projects and events.
Hockey, baseball, soccer, and many other team sports include a number of volunteers from the community. Events such as the Holiday Train, Community Christmas, etc. and recently the Eggstravagent Easter Egg Hunt take many volunteers to help make them a success.
Other volunteers are more one-on-one, taking time to teach children how to read, spend time with special needs persons, or helping out seniors.
There are many community groups that contribute to Ponoka in many ways, by raking leaves, shoveling snow, offering programs and services, etc.
Many volunteers are needed to carry out this work and this is what keeps the community of Ponoka strong and thriving. Without these efforts to fill the needs of Ponoka, the community would degrade physically, and socially.
It is important to support all of our volunteers throughout the year, but for National Volunteer week, make it a priority to recognize and thank volunteers that you know for making a difference in the community. If you are not currently volunteering there are many opportunities to do so in Ponoka. If you are interested in making a positive difference contact a local organization or ask a volunteer in the community how you could get involved.