Dry grad group looking for volunteers

Organizers of the largest year-end party for graduating students in Nanaimo and Ladysmith are seeking volunteers.

Organizers of the largest year-end party for graduating students in Nanaimo and Ladysmith are seeking volunteers to help ensure the event continues in the future.

Wayne Cooper, chairman of the Nanaimo Dry Grad Society, said the group has about a dozen volunteers helping out so far, when normally about 25 are involved by now.

“We’re needing probably another dozen to come on board just at this stage of the game,” he said. “The workers are spread thin.”

The concern is that the remaining volunteers might not want to continue helping out in coming years if they are too worn out by taking on twice the workload this year, said Cooper. He’s concerned that could mean a smaller-scale event or no event at all for future graduates.

About 900 graduating students from all of Nanaimo’s public and private schools (and Ladysmith Secondary School students) and 300 volunteers will take over Beban Park complex from 8 p.m. on June 29 to 5 a.m. June 30 – hours after students don gap and gown to attend graduation ceremonies.

Activities including rock climbing, scuba diving, kayak races, karaoke, movies, music, prizes and inflatable toys. For those who stay all night, larger prizes such as iPads and MP3 players are drawn from a basket containing students’ wrist tag numbers. The party also includes plenty of food, of course.

Students pay half the cost of putting on the party through the $50 ticket price, but once they’re in, all the activities are free.

Parent volunteers have organize the event for the past 23 years.

Cooper said the goal is to show students that a good time can be had without alcohol or drugs – purses and bags are searched before entry and those under the influence will be turned away.

And the event is popular.

“About 80 per cent of the grad class comes,” said Cooper, adding that volunteering to help organize and being there on the actual night of the event is also rewarding for community members.

“They get to see the excitement of the Grade 12 class,” said Cooper. “The kids are pretty respectful of all the volunteers.”

For more information or to volunteer, click here.

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