Appreciating our Volunteers
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to share it with a team of enthusiastic people who volunteer at the Discovery Centre. These individuals bring so much energy and enthusiasm for the Centre’s work towards its mission, ensuring the success of programs, events, and exhibits. They are all dedicated and hardworking people who contribute a great deal not just to the final product seen by our visitors, but throughout the creative process of developing new exhibits, events, and programs.
Recently, experienced volunteers have been taking a larger role in mentoring new volunteers. Our school program volunteer team is primarily made up of retired teachers and university students who are interested in becoming teachers. The retired teachers mentor the team, sharing ideas and skills developed over their teaching careers. Earlier this year, the retired teachers joined together to present a “Tricks of the Trade” workshop, which included helping new volunteers learn the art of voice projection without straining their vocal cords. Experienced gallery interpreters have also led training sessions for new volunteers, sharing their experiences of working with the public in the exhibit galleries. I enjoy these sessions where I get to see the depth and breadth of the leadership experience on our volunteer team and the commitment they all have to the quality of programming at the Discovery Centre.
Members of the volunteer team have also recently expressed a desire for more training and educational opportunities, including outings and social activities. I love that they are asking for more ways to learn and grow together. It is impossible for any of us to know everything there is to know about the Fraser River from the headwaters to the estuary, past and present. But when we put on our blue shirts, visitors expect that we will know a lot of about the river. So we strive to keep informed on current issues and continue to learn about historical ones. We have recently set up volunteer committees to coordinate these learning and social activities. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the team.
April is a good time to celebrate our volunteer team because it is National Volunteer Appreciation month, and at the Discovery Centre we like to celebrate the efforts of our dedicated team of volunteers in a few special ways. This year, Wayne McCartney, the manager of Kerrisdale Cameras Burnaby Branch, has generously donated a photography workshop for our volunteer team. Once we learn a few tricks to taking gorgeous river photos from Wayne, we will spill out onto the boardwalk to take those perfect shots before heading over to Wild Rice for some delicious eats.
This year, we are also honouring individual volunteers with additional gifts provided by generous local businesses including the Boathouse Restaurant at the Quay, Landmark Cinemas, Tim Hortons, and Safeway at Plaza 88, White Spot at 6th and 6th, and Boston Pizza and Starbucks at Columbia Square. We appreciate that these local businesses have made it easier for us to thank our volunteers for their commitment and work over the past year.
To our volunteer team: on behalf of all FRDC staff members, my heartfelt thanks to you for making our jobs so much fun!