Every year Canada takes the time to celebrate those who give up their own time to help others with National Volunteer Week (April 15-21). Over 13.3 million people – 47% of Canadians aged 15 or over – did volunteer work in 2010. In this same year, almost 2.07 billion hours were dedicated to volunteer activities – that’s almost 1.1 million full-time jobs!
In 2013, then-Governor General David Johnston launched My Giving Moment and The Giving Behaviour Project – both initiatives and research endeavours designed to encourage Canadians to create a better and more generous Canada through volunteerism and generosity. My Giving Moment encourages Canadians to think small and look for little moments or gestures where they can help. The campaign launches every year during Volunteer Week.
Junior sports teams and semi-pro leagues would not run at the level they do without the tireless work of their volunteers behind the scenes. Children’s teams are run by volunteer coaches and volunteer concession stand operators. Junior and semi-pro leagues have volunteers helping with everything from tickets sales to crowd control – even in the mascot costume. And while all volunteers are amazing individuals who give their time freely and with love, we feel it’s important that we pay special attention to a particular group of volunteers this year.
On Friday, April 6th, the bus carrying playoff-bound Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team, the Humboldt Broncos, collided with a transport truck on their way to a game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. In the devastating collision, 16 lives were lost, including those of players, coaches, a statistician, the play-by-play broadcaster, and the athletic therapist.
Volunteer Statistician Brody Hinz was one of those whose lives were lost in the tragic accident. Hinz was a longstanding, popular volunteer with not just the Humboldt Broncos, but also youth groups, his church’s Sunday School, and the community’s soup kitchen. His funeral was held this past weekend.
Volunteers from all over Saskatchewan have come forward to assist the community in the aftermath of the tragedy. These volunteers have helped organize, set up and tear down for memorial events, and have been a steady presence in the crowds, handing out hot coffee to people waiting for news. The volunteers directed crowds into the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt for last Sunday’s vigil, then steered them to the curling rinks next door, and finally to the elementary school when the crowds became too large. We are all #HumboldtStrong but this group of volunteers has taken it to the next level, and have shown no sign of stopping in their commitment to their community in its time of need. With that in mind, it’s important that they get the acknowledgement they deserve in this trying time. If you’re interested in donating to support the Humboldt Broncos, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the families of the victims.
If you’re interested in volunteering in Ontario, additional information can be found at the links below.
Volunteering in Ontario: Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
National Volunteer Week 2018