I recently joined the Volunteer Alberta team after moving to Edmonton from my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario. I attended school at The University of Western Ontario, and have experience working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector.
As a newbie to this province, I jumped at the chance to tag along with a fellow co-worker on a work trip through Southern Alberta. The plan was to attend career fairs at Medicine Hat College and Lethbridge College to interact with students and promote the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP). While our trip was productive, it also proved to be a great introduction to rural Alberta and it made for some excellent photo ops.
What we found amidst the vast fields and open skies were some unique (and large!) Albertan gems including the world’s largest dinosaur in Drumheller, world’s largest teepee in Medicine Hat , and what I am going to assume is the world’s largest Star Trek themed town, Vuclan.
These oversized landmarks served as a reminder that each city and town in Alberta has its own identity, its own set of values and unique challenges. What intrigued me about these landmarks, aside from their sheer size, was that the citizens embraced them to create an immersive experience for visitors. There is much more to Drumheller than just a giant dinosaur but it serves as a symbol of how the entire town built an identity around its past by decorating their yards and store-fronts, in turn helping to enrich their community.
On this trip, I came to the realization that Alberta and its people are as diverse as their landmarks. It gave me an understanding of the people and communities that Volunteer Alberta serves. Our trip through Southern Alberta involved a lot of driving but I cannot think of a better way to get to know my new home and communities that we strive to help succeed.
Alberta is a big land with big landmarks.
Holly Claeys, Program/Administrative Assistant