Column: Community thrives on volunteerism

Volunteers make Ladysmith special, says Duck Paterson

Duck Paterson, a Ladysmith town councillor, writes opinion columns for the Ladysmith Chronicle.

By Duck Paterson,

We all realize living on the Island is a great privilege. Just look around and see what’s happening and look in our own back yards to see how lucky we are. We did have water issues and they probably will continue; we have COVID and will continue to for a while and we still have high ferry rates. Back to the starting line — a privilege. Just look at the beauty that is all over and we don’t have to drive through piles of traffic to get to it. We have nice clean air and water and great places to visit, such as Buchart Gardens, Kinsol Trestle, Cathedral Grove, Cape Scott and Roy Vickers studio — the list could take up my whole column. It is ncountable natural spaces and almost as many commercial, but worthwhile places, that make it so desirable to live here.

One of those is Ladysmith’s downtown. I had the opportunity of being involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Businesses Association’s Old Time Christmas this past week. The Kinsmen were asked to do hot dogs and hot chocolate for the event. Thinking that it would be rather quiet on Thursday and Friday nights in the cold, we weren’t really prepared for what we got. First Ave was crawling with people and what was really a great thing was the number of families out. Families and grandparents altogether, enjoying an evening. There was great entertainment and fun features, both on the street and in various stores. Couple that with the town’s famous light show and it makes downtown almost the perfect place to be.

I’ve written about this once before, but I think it’s something that should be repeated … and that’s volunteers. What we experienced last week was done mostly by volunteers. I believe they are a big part of what makes this island, and Ladysmith, a place that others want to be. Volunteers do what they do because they are proud of where they live. They want to see others having a good time and appreciating what they have around them. Families being together away from all that “tech” stuff is a great sight to see and hopefully it’s something that will stick with them.

It takes time to be a volunteer and it also takes support. We have a business community in Ladysmith that sees this and always steps forward to assist in any way it can. That usually means it’s going to cost something. Businesses see the advantage of having volunteers promoting their projects because, in the long run, those projects make the area a better place to be and that makes it an enjoyable environment for their employees and customers.

So not only should we feel privileged about where we live, but we should feel the same about folks that make it that way. To the hundreds of volunteers we have and to the businesses that support them in the projects they do for the community. It’s folks at LaFF; people spending time with kids playing soccer; Rotarians putting emergency packages together and the Lions Club and McNab’s Corn Maze collaborating on sponsoring a free weekday public swim (coming in the new year) that are all doing their best for us.

Even if you only have a couple of hours a month please consider getting in touch with one of these groups to offer a hand. The community will be far better off for it, your family will be better off for it and it will sure make you feel good.