We’ve said it before in this space, but recent developments bring the point home again.
As much as our natural environment is among the most awe-inspiring on earth, many of the things that enhance the lifestyle we enjoy on North Vancouver Island still come courtesy of our friends and neighbours.
Take Filomi Days, for instance. Port Hardy’s annual summer festival is almost legendary for its wide range of entertainment, food and play offerings, spread across a large geographical swath of the District.
For the vast majority of festival-goers, it is simply a matter of checking the schedule of events (see our insert inside for a quick, handy reference), grabbing the kids and some sunscreen, and heading down to Carrot Park.
But a small minority of dedicated volunteers spend months preparing for the weekend, and a frenzy of hours during Filomi Days itself to make sure everything takes place as advertised.
And that small pool of volunteers seems to be shrinking.
Angela Heasman of Port Hardy, who has taken over organization of the Brian Burns Memorial Street Hockey Tournament on Hastings Street, sent out an urgent call Monday for both teams (only one had pre-entered a week before the tourney) and volunteers to referee, keep score, make schedules and perform other duties.
The tournament was conceived by former Port Hardy hockey player and youth coach Dan Hodgson in 2007, as a way to recognize the work of longtime youth hockey mentor Brian Burns after Burns’ death to cancer in 2006.
But Hodgson has since moved from the community, and while the tournament has remained a popular draw for players and spectators, it struggled for volunteers each year.
Pointing this out is not meant to recruit or shame you, reader, into taking a day out of your weekend to pitch in.
But we would ask that you set aside at least a moment to recognize and acknowledge that Filomi Days and its associated events don’t run themselves.
Good work, volunteers, and good luck, Angela.
(Update: By late Tuesday, several people had responded to Heasman’s request with offers to help get hockey tournament equipment from storage at Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish, set up on Saturday morning and more. Well played, folks.)
Filomi scheduling note: The Filomi Days guide inside this week’s print edition of the Gazette indicates weigh-in for the Filomi Days Fishing Derby will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 20. This is incorrect — the derby closes at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Sorry for any mix-up.