Wow, what an unexpected honour it was to receive the Community Contributor Award from the Recreation and Tourism Management Department at Vancouver Island University.
Dr. Garrett Stone presented the award recognizing my contributions to student learning at the university over the past many years and my contributions to workforce development in BC and across Canada. I was struck when he shared a story of one student who came to his office a few days after my recent guest lecture and shared the impact it had on her.
The award invitation came with a dress code to arrive in your favourite ‘leisure attire’ was great as it took me back to my days as a recreation student years ago. It also caused me to reflect on the many organizations I’ve volunteered since I was in my teens. From student learning to picking fruit for our local food charity, sitting on various tourism boards, bottle drives as a soccer mom, or being an advisor to five tourism ministers - giving back to your community matters.
In the few moments I had to thank the faculty and staff, I shared why volunteering matters to me:
It opens doors to meeting people and supporting organizations that value your contribution;
You get to work with individuals with a shared commitment and passion that you may otherwise never meet;
The diversity of skills and talents on boards helps shape your thinking and broadens your appreciation for perspectives ;
You can aspire to a leadership position as a committee or board chair and gain different experiences than your work environment may offer;
It can lead to job opportunities and references; and
You always get back more than you give.
Thank you so much for this honour!