As the Volunteer Summit on March 25 approaches, we are profiling our many alumni who have contributed their time, talent or treasure to important causes and organizations.
Joan Wilson (BEd’97) has been a resident of Saltcoats, SK for 37 years. A former teacher, she has volunteered with several organizations such as the Godfrey Dean Gallery in Yorkton, the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association, the Town of Saltcoats and the Saltcoats Curling Club. Joan was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and a Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal in 2013.
What specifically attracted you to volunteering?
As a young girl, my mother helped in our small community of Madison, SK. I realized that if something needed to be done, the best way was to get involved and help make it happen. When my husband and I settled in Saltcoats, I took on roles in various organizations and soon I was involved in numerous things from town council, to home care to the art gallery, and more.
What keeps you motivated to continue to volunteer?
There are ongoing activities that I am involved with that continue to need support. In a small town, whoever does a job gets to keep it until they really can’t do it anymore! I am motivated because I still care about the things I am involved with. These include our curling club and our great little town.
What types of relationships and learning experience have you taken away from volunteering?
There are bonds formed with the people in the organizations you work with, you get to know different people through volunteering, and I am inspired by other volunteers in our community. I want to support other volunteers and our town. The volunteer experience has given me leadership and organizational skills, supported by my other life as a woman and a former teacher!
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment from your volunteering experience?
I am proud that many of our students have become part of the Yorkton Regional High School curling teams because they have been part of our junior curling program, and I like to think I helped bring that about, including (professional curler) Steve Laycock (BComm’07), but he has his own special talent! I am proud that we have conserved a small bit of native prairie in our regional park. This is especially important to me as any little vestige of prairie needs to be protected as it can so easily and thoughtlessly be destroyed.
How do you aim to inspire others to get involved?
Create a buzz around a new project and hopefully generate interest so volunteers will come out to help, keep things fun, give encouragement and show appreciation for help received, and give acknowledgement to volunteers. Personal contact, asking someone to help by calling them, or messaging them is helpful. Give a clear picture of what is expected or needed so volunteers have a better idea of what they are getting themselves into. Brainstorm for ideas and to create an” investment” in the next project. Through involvement, hopefully others will be inspired to become involved.