Paterson's Perspective by Duck Paterson.

It’s about time we brag about Ladysmith’s amazing volunteers

Duck Paterson brags about Ladysmith’s volunteer organizations

Braggers are not my most favourite people.I don’t think many people really do like braggers because, most of the time what they are bragging about, is all BS anyway, so why listen?That is true in most cases, but in Ladysmith I think that’s different.

Ladysmith is blessed. Just take look at where we are and what we have here.Well, lately the location isn’ the most ideal in the winter, but it does give us some great views and lends itself to the beauty of Vancouver Island.So, okay we won’t brag about the hills in the winter –– summer maybe if you’re an exercise freak ––but so much of everything else we have is something we can really blow our horn about.

The heart of what we call home has to be Transfer Beach.It’s a beautiful place to sit, contemplate, take the kids or the dog (in the proper area), swim, play volleyball, sing, on and on and on. We need to thank the mayor at that time, Kay Grouhel, for having the foresight to see the value in the land. The town bought the land, from Pacific Logging, for $10,000 in 1966. Thatpurchase laid the foundation for community volunteers and service clubs to band together and start creating one of the most welcoming public parks on the whole Island.

The work continues to this day by the volunteer groups that work to enhance Transfer Beach.The majority of the improvements take place without public fanfare or recognition. As well, not to forget about the members of the Ladysmith business community, whose support back then, and today, is a very big part of the success of our community’s volunteer organizations and their efforts. And quite frankly, it’s remarkable.

Ladysmith’s annual summer party is a prime example of what our local volunteers can do. A small group of local individuals gives up much of their free time, as well as their entire long weekend, so our town can show itself off to the rest of Vancouver Island.The same is true for the annual Show n Shine. This show, now in its 18th year, started off small but in a very short time has become one of the three largest car shows on the Island.Again a small group (9) of volunteers enjoy creating fun for the families in our town. The accolades this event brings is really something to brag about.

The volunteers from the Ladysmith and District Arts Council have done an amazing job of creating a destination for local, and visiting artists.The Waterfront Gallery, as well as the annual Arts On The Avenue has put a spot light on the artistic talent we have in this town to brag about. They’ve also done a spectacular job of supporting art through COVID with their online shows, proving themselves to be one of the strongest arts councils in the region.

The annual Lion’s Easter Egg Hunt at Transfer Beach is a great time, and so is Brits on The Beach. Of course we can’t forget about the Ladysmith Ambassador program and the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run that attracts participants from all over the island who leave here expounding the work of volunteers in Ladysmith. There are a lot more of these family events, put on by volunteers, that we can brag about and thank you to all those folks.

Not to take anything away from any of the volunteers, service clubs or organizations but there is one event that really comes to “light”.Yup, you guessed it, the annual Festival of Lights. Even struggling through this year’s pandemic, the dedicated volunteers managed to put on the annual show that we can brag about all year round. What has taken Bill Fitzpatrick’s funny little idea, of 35 years ago, to the largest Christmas family event on the Island? Volunteers and community support. When volunteers hear their community bragging about what they’ve done, and when it’s time to get the work done, they come out, that gives the whole organization the zip it needs to continue.

Just a couple of weeks ago we saw in the Chronicle, news of a fantastic donation by the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary, to the Ladysmith Secondary School supporting their “Hunger Bites” program, as well as allocating funds to purchase needed supplies for the schools emergency preparedness container. Health Care Auxiliary volunteers have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that havehas really gone long, long ways in helping the health of our community.I think pretty well everyone of you have seen the great playgrounds in our Town as well as the spraypark, wheelchair ramp at the museum or the washrooms on the Holland Creek Trail. Those projects, and others were built by the Kinsmen in conjunction with other community organizations and businesses. The Lions Root Street Park, the Rotary Peace Park, those and others are something to brag about.

There are many unsung groups in our community that do a huge amount of volunteer time but are rarely seen, such as the Ladysmith Search and Rescue folks and Ladysmith Fire Rescue,the Marine Search and Rescue group and others. One group that does do a lot of behind the scenes work, and is very desperate for members is the Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol.Keeping an eye on our parks, streets, businesses, etc at night does speak highly of this dedicated group of volunteers and they also do the Speed Watch program. The Ladysmith Seniors Society, Lions, the Legion and Aux., Eagles and the Aux., Air Cadets, Resources Centre, Horseshoe Club, Rotary Club, all the youth sports organizations, Kinsmen Club, Maritime Society, Historical Society and the list goes on.

Every year there is literally thousands and thousands of dollars given out in bursaries to local graduating students by individuals and community groups and local businesses, way more than they do in the Nanaimo area. All of this time and energy is greatly appreciated. I know I’m gonna miss some in this and I really apologize to those folks.

When you drive around your community just keep an eye open for the great playgrounds we have, the Holland Creek Trails as well as the other great trails, the sports fields and all the kids using them and then there’s assets that these groups build and turn back to the Town.Believe it or not, this saves taxpayer dollars.

This is all just a very small example of why we reasons to brag about where we live.But there is also a need to stop and think about what all these folks have done, and how long can they keep it up without new volunteers coming in to give them a hand.Volunteers are probably the greatest asset any community can have and, in my opinion, Ladysmith is the leader of the pack. But our community organizations need help. As our community grows, so do expectations. Neither is going to stop. Please, if you have a few hours “extra” a month, think aboutgiving a few of them back to the community.

Great friendships are created by folks getting out and building their communities. Even though we can’t get out and meet new people until COVID is behind us, there are still opportunities help out and volunteer virtually .

So whether you’re looking for something new to brag about, or you just want to be a part of something that is fun and beneficial, the folks at the Chamber of Commerce or City Hall would be able to give you contact information for most (if not all) of the groups that make this town great.

And to all the volunteers in our community, thank you. We wouldn’t be the same without you.

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